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The Source: What Does Recent Water Case Mean For Water Districts, Land Owners?

Flickr user Judy Baxter

After the Texas Supreme Court decided against taking up the case Edwards Aquifer Authority vs. Glenn and JoLynn Bragg, a lower court award of several hundred thousand dollars and a ruling that some argue erodes the power of groundwater districts was cemented. The award now, several years and crop cycles later has not been determined.

The ruling means water districts can now be found liable if a regulating scheme is deemed too restrictive, and then can be considered taking private property.It is another lossfor groundwater districts who are tasked with helping conserve water across the state in a state that says groundwater belongs to owners of the land above it. 

Are we seeing the power of groundwater districts erode, or is this just a clear recourse for landowners who feel their water has been taken from them by the district?


  • Amy Hardberger, Professor of Law at St Mary's University 
  • Roland Ruiz, General Manager at the Edwards Aquifer Authority
  • Paul Terrill, lawyer for Glenn and JoyLynn Bragg
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Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org