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Adams v. Greenwich Water Co.
Connecticut Supreme Court
83 A.2d 177 (1951)
Elsie Adams and others (the owners) (plaintiffs) owned riverfront-estate homes on the Mianus River in Greenwich, Connecticut. The neighborhood had no public water supply and used water from the river for multiple purposes. Greenwich Water Company (GWC) (defendant) originally provided water for Greenwich and part of Stamford, Connecticut, but the state legislature amended GWC’s charter to also supply water to two towns in New York. The amended charter also extended GWC’s eminent-domain rights to take water from the Mianus and build reservoirs as necessary. In 1929, GWC began pumping water from the river above the owners’ neighborhood. After the owners sued, GWC contracted with Stamford Water Company (SWC) for supplemental water and stopped pumping water from the river. During a drought, SWC could not supply the extra water needed, and GWC again pumped from the Mianus, using more than half the flow during the driest period. When it became evident that existing reservoirs could not provide enough water in the future for even Connecticut residents, GWC planned to dam the Mianus and build a reservoir above the owners’ neighborhood. The owners sued for an injunction. GWC countered that its eminent-domain rights allowed it to take the water and build the reservoir. The trial court refused to enjoin the condemnation without finding that GWC had to compensate the owners for taking the water. The owners appealed on multiple grounds, including that GWC lacked eminent-domain power to take water for New York residents instead of only Connecticut residents.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Inglis, J.)
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