In Weighty Water Ruling, Texas’ High Court Backs Landowner

The Texas Supreme Court has strengthened protections for landowners who don’t have rights to the water underneath their property.

In a ruling Friday, the state’s highest civil court said Texas’ “accommodation doctrine” should also apply to groundwater, in addition to oil and gas.

The decades-old doctrine requires mineral owners — considered the dominant estate — to accommodate the surface owner’s existing use of the land if at all possible. While it doesn’t always stop drilling or pumping operations, the doctrine gives surface landowners some say regarding the circumstances.

But the ruling also establishes that the rights of groundwater owners are dominant over those of surface owners… Read more from the Texas Tribune