A New Day? Two Interpretations of the Texas Supreme Court’s Ruling in Edwards Aquifer Authority v. Day and McDaniel

Russell S. Johnson, Gregory M. Ellis


Editors’ Note: Many in Texas waited patiently for the Texas Supreme Court decision on Edwards Aquifer Authority v. Day and McDaniel, arguably the most important decision on Texas groundwater law in a generation. Regardless of which way the decision went, it undoubtedly would have a big impact on the management of groundwater resources in the state. We were not disappointed. The decision is complicated and, in places, seemingly contradictory. By opening groundwater management to regulatory takings, a door to another complicated area of law has been opened. Although the Day case answers some questions, others remain unanswered. And there are strong opinions on what Day means and doesn’t mean.

While the Texas Supreme Court considered the Day case, Russ Johnson and Greg Ellis regaled audiences at multiple venues on their views on the case and what the court would or should do. Johnson’s arguments leaned toward the landowner perspective while Ellis’s arguments leaned toward the groundwater conservation district perspective. With the Day case decided, we thought it would be informative to ask Johnson and Ellis what they thought Day meant. Given the topic and nature of the contributions, only the editorial board reviewed the papers before accepting them for publication. As expected, the papers are interesting and informative—and help set the stage for the path forward.


Texas water law; Texas groundwater law; Edwards Aquifer Authority; Day case

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Texas Water Journal

The Texas Water Journal is an online, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the timely consideration of Texas water resources management, research, and policy issues from a multidisciplinary perspective that integrates science, engineering, law, planning, and other disciplines. It also provides updates on key state legislation and policy changes by Texas administrative agencies. The journal is published by the Texas Water Journal, a nonprofit organization, in cooperation with the Texas Water Resources Institute, part of Texas A&M AgriLife.

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