Texas groundwater rights and immunities: from East to Day and beyond

Dylan O. Drummond


For well over a century, the debate has raged over what interest, if any, landowners possess in the groundwater beneath their property, as well as what degree of tortious immunity a neighboring landowner enjoys for draining adjoining groundwater. After the Texas Supreme Court’s 2012 decision in Edwards Aquifer Authority v. Day, and the Texas Legislature’s 2011 amendments to the Texas Water Code, these debates appear to have been finally settled—for now!

This article traces the jurisprudential development of Texas groundwater law, from its earliest origins in ancient Rome through to the most influential and substantive decisions of the Texas Supreme Court and legislation from the Texas Legislature. It also examines what cases are on the horizon that may yet affect Texas groundwater law in the coming years.


groundwater law, rule of capture, absolute ownership, Day, East, Supreme Court of Texas

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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.

ISSN 2160-5319
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