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Edwards Aquifer Authority v. Day
Texas Supreme Court
369 S.W.3d 814 (2012)
R. Burrell Day and Joel McDaniel (plaintiffs) bought land with a partially collapsed well above Edwards Aquifer. Water still flowed from the well into a lake, but reusing or replacing the well required a permit. Texas’s Edwards Aquifer Authority Act (EAAA) restricted amounts users could pump from the aquifer based on prior beneficial use, with a two-acre-feet minimum per acre historically irrigated. Day applied for a permit for 700 acre-feet based on previous owners’ having irrigated 300 acres plus the 50-acre lake. The Edwards Aquifer Authority (Authority) (defendant) preliminarily found historic use for 300 acres, and Day spent $95,000 drilling a new well before the Authority denied the permit. Day appealed, but prior owners had used lake water to irrigate only 150 acres, and only seven acres directly from the well, resulting in a permit for only 14 acre-feet. Day brought takings claims against the Authority and Texas (defendants). The court granted summary judgment finding the lake water remained groundwater, entitling Day to a permit for 300 acre-feet, but denied the takings claims. The appellate court reversed as to both the permit and the takings claims. After remand, the Authority and Texas appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Hecht, J.)
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