Category Archives: Water Law

Unanimous US Supreme Court: United States Can Participate as Party in Texas v. New Mexico

The United States will be allowed to participate as a party in the Texas v. New Mexico lawsuit before the United Stated Supreme Court, wrote Justice Gorsuch last week on behalf of a unanimous bench. Background We’ve been following Texas v. New Mexico for years.  To read a more detailed explanation of the merits of the lawsuit, click here. There are multiple agreements at issue in this litigation. First, what we will refer to as “the Treaty.”  In 1906, the United States entered into a treaty with Mexico, requiring the… Read More →

Do Landowners Have Right to Protest Proposed Water Project?

An interesting legal question has arisen in Bastrop County recently that could have impacts on groundwater law and landowner rights across Texas. Background In 2013, Recharge Water (formerly End Op) applied for a permit from the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District (GCD) to withdraw 56,000 acre-feet of water per year from the Simsboro formation of the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer in Bastrop and Lee Counties.  The company planned to export the water for sale in Hays, Travis, and Williamson Counties, although no specific buyer had been identified. In response, water… Read More →

Basics of Texas Water Law

I get a lot of questions about water law in Texas.  To help folks at least get a good starting point and lay of the land, I authored a fact sheet that outlines the basics of Texas water law.  To download a copy, click here.

February 9, 2018 Weekly Round Up

This week I enjoyed speaking on water law at the High Plains Irrigation Conference in Amarillo. Here are some of the ag law stories in the news. *Lawsuit filed against EPA’s 2-year delay of WOTUS rule.  Ten states have filed suit against the EPA challenging the agency’s 2-year delay of the 2015 WOTUS rule.  They allege that the delay was imposed without consideration of the “environmental and public health consequences of doing so” and that by reverting to the pre-2015 approach, the agency has undertaken a “redefinition” for… Read More →

February 2, 2018 Weekly Round Up

Welcome to February and Happy Groundhog Day!  This week I had some much-needed time in the office and was able to give an online guest lecture to the Ag Leadership class at Mississippi State University, taught by my friend, Dr. Laura Greenhaw.  Welcome to any new followers from her class! Here are some of the major ag law stories in the news this week. * EPA sets the effective date for 2015 WOTUS rule for 2020.  You may remember this prior post where we discussed the US Supreme… Read More →

January 26, 2018 Weekly Round Up

I tell you what, it’s been a whirlwind of a week both for my travel schedule and for ag law news!  On Monday I spoke in Pampa at a program hosted by County Extension Agents Mike Jeffcoat, Michael Wilkes, and Jody Bradford.  Then on Tuesday, I headed to Lubbock for the Seeking Solutions Regional Extension meeting.  Wednesday found me back on the road to Lubbock to speak at the Texas Alliance for Water Conservation Water College. Today, I’ll be doing an online presentation for a graduate student group… Read More →

January 12, 2017 Weekly Round Up

It was a busy week around here as I traveled to Nashville to speak at the American Farm Bureau Federation Conference.  It was my first time to be on the same agenda as the President, so that was quite exciting!  To those of you joining from that conference, welcome to the blog!  Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week.   * US Supreme Court will not hear Endangered Species Act case involving Utah prairie dog.  You may remember a case in Utah where… Read More →

January 5, 2018 Weekly Round Up

Hello and Happy New Year!  I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful holiday.  We’re back in the saddle and here are some of the top ag law stories in the news this first week of 2018. *US Supreme Court gears up for oral argument in Texas v. New Mexico.  On Monday, Justices will hear oral arguments at the US Supreme Court in the water law case Texas v. New Mexico.  This case involves a 1938 Rio Grande Compact that requires New Mexico to deliver water at the Elephant Butte Reservoir… Read More →

December 15, 2017 Weekly Round Up

Happy Friday!  The last couple of weeks I made trips to Tulia and Miami for county extension programs, so welcome to those of you joining the blog.  Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week. *KUT writes interesting article on wind right severances.  Mose Buchele wrote an interesting article on a new issue of Texas landowners selling property but reserving wind rights.  This is a new phenomenon, which raises interesting legal and practical questions.  [Read article here.] *TCEQ will not appoint watermaster for San Saba… Read More →

Court Sides with New Mexico Cattle Ranchers in Water Dispute

A federal court has sided with a group of New Mexico ranchers in a case involving a dispute over stock watering rights in the Lincoln National Forest. Background The US Forest Service (USFS) manages federally owned land within the Lincoln National Forest in New Mexico.  As part of that management, since 1910, the USFS has issued grazing permits to ranchers to graze cattle on the federally owned forest land.  Each year the USFS determines the number of cattle that may be grazed on various portions of the forest,… Read More →