Category Archives: Water Law

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 →

Texas Water: Groundwater Conservation Districts (Part I)

**This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.** Earlier in the Texas Water series, we discussed the general law applicable to Texas groundwater.  As you might recall, the Texas Legislature has tasked local Groundwater Conservation Districts (“GCDs”) with the duty of managing Texas’ groundwater.  Thus, rules and regulations of GCDs are exceptions to the general Rule of Capture.  In the next two weeks, we will discuss GCDs in Texas, today focusing on the basics of what GCDs are and how they are created, and next Monday turning to… Read More →

Questions from Tiffany’s Desk: TCEQ Action in Kimble County

***This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.*** Today we have our second post in the “Questions from Tiffany’s Desk” series.  In the past week, I have gotten four calls and emails asking questions similar to the one below.   Question:  We read an article in the paper.  What is going on in Kimble County with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (“TCEQ”) ordering a rancher to remove a dam from a stream on private property?  What is the law regarding building dams across streams on… Read More →

Texas Water: Basics of Groundwater Law

***This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.*** Today we will continue on in our Texas Water series by looking at the law applicable to Texas groundwater.  Be sure to check out the prior posts on Texas surface water law and on current issues in Texas surface water if you missed them. What is groundwater?  Groundwater is defined as “water percolating below the surface of the earth” but not including subterranean streams or rivers.  (Note:  Like above ground rivers, subterranean rivers in Texas would be state-0wned. … Read More →