The Texas Supreme Court has shocked water rights experts by turning away a high-profile case that would help clarify the state’s confusing groundwater laws. As Texas water supplies suffer from drought and a swelling population, the demand for water grows. How much water landowners can pump, and who has the authority to limit that consumption, are proving to be crucial questions.
Most observers expected the state’s highest civil court to weigh in on a recent lower court ruling that seems to tip the balance toward landowners when groundwater districts try to limit water use. But the justices have declined to review the appeals court’s ruling in Edwards Aquifer Authority v. Glenn and JoLynn Bragg – the first time a Texas appeals court found that groundwater laws violated property rights under the Texas Constitution. That controversial case fueled fiery debate a, and experts expected the high court’s ruling.