Category Archives: Water Law

EPA’s Proposed Rule Defining “Waters of the United States” Causes Controversy

*This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.* In addition to my usual disclaimer, please not that I am not an expert on the Clean Water Act or the EPA’s regulations implementing the Act.  This blog is intended merely to highlight the current issue and provide basic information. The Environmental Protection Agency recently drafted a proposed rule defining “waters of the United States” with regard to its interpretation of the Clean Water Act.  This proposed amendment has caused a great deal of controversy. The Clean Water… Read More →

Texas Water Report

*This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.* Earlier this year, the Texas Comptroller’s Office put out the Texas Water Report.  This document provides a great overview of a variety of water issues currently going on in Texas.  It covers everything from current court cases to international treaty disputes to water ownership in Texas to the impacts of drought and the oil boom on water supplies.  If you are interested in Texas water issues, I would highly recommend reading over this report, which can… Read More →

New York Times Article Highlights Water Disputes Across the West

*This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.* On Sunday, the New York Times ran an excellent article outlining the ongoing disputes over water across the West.  [Read article here.]  The article covered disputes–many between urban and rural interests–across Texas, Colorado, Nevada, California, and Arizona. Specifically, with regard to Texas, the article went into detail about the Texas Farm Bureau v. TCEQ litigation involving a priority call on the Brazos River.  A quote from Mumford-area farmer Frank DeSefano sums up the feelings of many farmers, “I understand… Read More →

TCEQ Rejects Suggested Trigger Level for Release to Rice Farmers

*This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.* The TCEQ reached a somewhat surprising decision in the emergency request by the Lower Colorado River Authority seeking to withhold water from downstream users, including many rice farmers, unless the Highland Lakes near Austin reached 1.1 million acre feet.  Instead of adopting a certain trigger point at which water can be released, the TCEQ decided that it was best to prevent the release of irrigation water for now, but to revisit the issue in the next few months. … Read More →

Livestock Wells in Western States

*This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.* I recently drafted an article for the Progressive Cattleman Magazine discussing the basic laws surrounding livestock wells in Western states. Many states provide some form of exemption from the permitting process for people seeking to drill livestock wells.  Thirteen states provide specific exemptions for livestock wells:  Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming.  The specific laws vary by state and can be quite different with regard… Read More →

Summary of Oral Argument in Environmental Processing v. F.P.L. Farming

*This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.* Today the Texas Supreme Court heard oral argument from counsel in Environmental Processing Systems, L.C. v. F.P.L. Farming LTD., which was discussed in detail on this blog on Monday.   Essentially the case involves a claim that waste water from an oil and gas operation that was injected in an underground disposal well on EPS’ property has migrated under the property of FPL Farming, causing subsurface trespass.   The case has been submitted to the Court for decision. The justices… Read More →

December 6, 2013 Weekly Round Up

**This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.** This week I was able to speak at the Texas Commodity Symposium held in conjunction with the Amarillo Farm and Ranch Show.  It was a great symposium and I enjoyed the chance to visit with the attendees and hear the other speakers.  Hello to the new readers from the Farm and Ranch Show!  Here are a few ag law-related stories making news this week. *Federal Reserve Bank Report Suggests Water Market Approach.  The Federal Reserve Bank… Read More →

Breaking News: LCRA Board to Request Withholding Water from Downstream Farmers

**This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.** Yesterday the Lower Colorado River Authority (“LCRA”) Board voted 8-7 to request permission from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to withhold water from downstream farmers if certain conditions are not met. Specifically, the LCRA is seeking permission from the TCEQ to require Lake Buchanan and Lake Travis, which are the primary sources of water for several Central Texas cities including Austin, to be at 55% capacity by March 1, 2014, before any water will be released to downstream… Read More →

Breaking News: Motions Denied in Bragg v. Edwards Aquifer Authority and Davis v. Devon Energy Corp.

**This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.** Courts of Appeals in Texas and New Mexico have denied motions in cases previously discussed on this blog.  Here is a summary of what has happened in the last couple of weeks. Bragg v. Edwards Aquifer Authority In August, the San Antonio Court of Appeals issued what has been deemed by many to be a landmark water rights decision in Bragg v. Edwards Aquifer Authority.  As previously explained in detail, the court found that the by denying the… Read More →

Texas Water: Goundwater Conservation Districts (Part II)

**This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.** Today we have Part II of our discussion of Groundwater Conservation Districts in Texas.  In case you missed Part I, click here. What can GCDs do? GCDs are granted broad power by the Texas Legislature to accomplish their purposes.  GCDs develop both plans and rules and have eminent domain power. Plans All GCDs develop a groundwater management plan that outlines the GCD’s goals to provide the most efficient use of groundwater, controlling and preventing groundwater waste,… Read More →