Landowner groups urge groundwater conservation districts to reaffirm groundwater as a vested property right

AUSTIN, Texas  – A group of 13 Texas landowner associations and organizations sent a letter to each state groundwater conservation district urging them to adopt a resolution or similar statement recognizing that landowners have a vested ownership interest in groundwater beneath their property.

The letter is part of a larger effort, led by the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers  Association (TSCRA), the Texas Farm Bureau (TFB), the Texas Wildlife Association (TWA) and 10 other landowner groups, to reaffirm groundwater as a vested property right of landowners during the upcoming legislative session.

“We’re very encouraged by the groundwater conservation districts that are considering the resolution and recognizing the importance of reaffirming groundwater as a vested, real property right,” said Tina Y. Buford, president of the Texas Wildlife Association.  “It is critical that this foundation principle be reaffirmed.”

The groups support local groundwater conservation districts so private landowners can work with their neighbors, rather than a distant state agency, to protect their groundwater rights and also conserve this valuable resource.

“Local control is critical to the management of groundwater,” said Dave Scott, TSCRA president. “However, that management should recognize and respect landowners’ property rights.”

The ownership of groundwater is a fundamental and legal right that all landowners have. Scott says that the Texas Constitution and more than 100 years of case law support this, but recently, several court cases have challenged this right.

“Landowners are concerned that if action is not taken to reaffirm this property right, they could wake up to find their groundwater rights stripped out from under them by the government and the courts,” Scott said.

The Central Texas Groundwater Conservation District has adopted a similar resolution.

“By adopting a resolution recognizing that landowners have a vested ownership interest in groundwater beneath their property, groundwater conservation districts can demonstrate their commitment to recognize property rights to the landowners in their districts,” said Todd Fox, Central Texas Groundwater Conservation District vice president.

“Landowners and local government should work together to protect this property right. It’s the right thing to do. Government should honor and protect landowners’ rights, not take them away,” Fox continued.

The groups have created, a website with information regarding groundwater regulations under the Texas Water Code, legal information surrounding groundwater ownership including court cases that are currently challenging this right, and facts and contact information.

The growing effort is currently supported by the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA); the Texas Wildlife Association (TWA); the Texas Farm Bureau (TFB); the Texas Poultry Federation (TPF); the Exotic Wildlife Association (EWA); the Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers Association (TSGRA); the Texas Cattle Feeders Association (TCFA); the Texas Association of Dairymen (TAD); the South Texans’ Property Rights Association (STPRA); the Riverside and Landowners Protection Coalition; the Texas Forestry Association; the Association of Texas Soil and Water Conservation Districts; and the Texas Land and Mineral Owners Association (TLMA) and brings together more than 400,000 Texans who own more than 50 million acres of private property.

For more information please visit


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1 Response to Landowner groups urge groundwater conservation districts to reaffirm groundwater as a vested property right

  1. michael l maurer sr says:

    Senator Frasor said that in reality, his groundwater bill didn’t do much. Though on paper it recognized groiundwater as ‘vested’ right of the property owner… it also states a GCD could LIMIT that right.

    These GCDs are merely a ‘tool’ for the State to own and control not just surface waters… but groudwaters as well. The TCEQ and the TWDB are winning this battle. The controlling Boards of groups such as Farm Bureau, STCRA, and many other organizations have sold out their members on the idea that Stsate control of groundwater is good. To the contrary… it is horrible. To put it simply… to help ensure water supplies for the future (this doesn’t mean for the people here now to have water in the future)… it means the 10 million people coming here in the future should all have water. The State is NOT creating new water supplies, it is merely squeezing one’s straw in the ground, so that he doesn’t pump as much… either by GCD regulation… or by paying more for the water. The EAA was being forced by a judge to reduce consuption of the Edwards… however the Legislature just increased the Edwards pumpage… with the stipulation that the EAA urge conservation. HA!
    The SPECIES TAX… if passed… will allow for those revenues to be used for the building of pipelines to bring water back to and pump into the Edwards… therefore allowing more water to be pumped. Conservation… not hardly. But tax monies from other counties will enable this diabolical plot to build pipelines to help the GBRA and SAWS… the 2 agencies that can receive the tax monies from these funds and handed out and approved by… the TWDB. Oh… and this is being done purportedly to help species… least we forget that the GBRA was fighting with the Aransas Project because this Aransas Project wanted more water for the protection of species by the coast… and GBRA is against that protection. This species tax should be renamed the ‘feces tax’ as it is beginning to smell. Who is the bills’ author. None other than the esteemed Wentworth. (CLAP NOW… NONE HEARD… WILL MOVE ON)
    GCD are touted as local control… however… the politicians IN AUSTIN are the ones who make laws and changes to existing laws… and then mandate the ‘local’ GCD Boards implement these changes. TCEQ has statutory supervisory authority over all GCDs and TCEQ is not ‘local’. The TCEQ can upseat and replace a ‘local’ Board for not following certain mandates passed down to them by the politicians IN AUSTIN. When politicians and governmental officials speak of ‘local’ they must mean the person resides ‘locally’.
    Calhoun County residents and Terrell County residents… vote NO.

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