Category Archives: Water Law

Decisions, Decisions

**This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.** This week brought forth several major Texas court decisions that are related to agriculture.  Here are brief (at least in lawyer terms) summaries of those cases.  1.  On Wednesday, the San Antonio Court of Appeals issued its decision in Edwards Aquifer Authority v. Bragg. The Braggs own property that sits above the Edwards Aquifer on which they have two pecan orchards:  The Home Place orchard and the D’Hanis orchard.  Beginning in the late 1970′s, the Braggs irrigated the Home… Read More →

Texas Water Wars: United States v. Mexico

**This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.** Texas has been fighting against its neighbors for water on many fronts.  In 2013, Supreme Court litigation has pitted Texas against Oklahoma in one case and against New Mexico in another, and there is currently an ongoing dispute with Mexico over its compliance (or lack thereof) with a treaty allocating Rio Grande water to the United States.  In the upcoming weeks, I intend to post a series of blogs called Texas Water Wars.  This series will discuss each of these battles, outline… Read More →

August 2, 2013 Weekly Round Up

**This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.** Happy August!  Here are some agricultural law-related stories making the news this week. * Arsenic in Texas Wells?  A recent study looking at water well quality in the Barnett Shale region has found elevated levels of arsenic in wells that are closer to natural gas extraction sites.  The study tested 100 wells in the region where fracking has been used to extract natural gas and found that those with dangerous arsenic levels were generally closer to the… Read More →

Bounds v. New Mexico: NM Domestic Well Statute Is Constitutional

**This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.** As I announced last week, the New Mexico Supreme Court has decided a hotly contested case regarding the constitutionality of New Mexico’s domestic well statute that gained national attention.  In a unanimous opinion, the court held that even in a fully appropriated basin, the DWS does not violate the Constitutional doctrines of prior appropriation or due process. Background Mr. Bounds is a farmer and rancher in southwestern New Mexico who holds senior water rights in the Mimbres… Read More →

Breaking News: New Mexico Supreme Court Upholds Domestic Well Statute

**This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.** In a case that received nationwide attention, Bounds v. New Mexico, the New Mexico Supreme Court has held that the state’s domestic well statute is constitutional.  Specifically, the Court found that the domestic well statute does not violate the doctrine of prior appropriation or the due process clause.  Numerous other states across the West, including Texas, have similar statutes that allow domestic well permits to be granted without the usual procedural steps required to obtain a water permit. … Read More →

July 19, 2013 Weekly Round Up

**This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.** We’re coming to the end of another week.  Here are some of the top ag law-related stories making headlines. 1.  Last week, the United States House of Representatives passed a Farm Bill, after splitting out the nutrition portion for consideration at a later date.  House leaders say that a vote on the nutrition portion of the bill may come within the next week or two.  In the meantime, it waits to be seen what will happen when… Read More →

Water Bills – Summary of the 2013 Texas Legislative Session

**This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.** Now that the Texas Legislature has completed its regular session and first special session, I have compiled a list of the major water-related bills considered by the 83rd Texas Legislature.   Not surprisingly given the current drought, water was a major issue considered by the Legislature.  The complete text of any bill below may be viewed at Texas Legislature Online by simply entering the bill number.   Bills that passed the Legislature and were signed by the Governor HB… Read More →