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Groundwater private property right

Texas landowner groups have joined forces in an effort to ensure that groundwater continues to be recognized as a vested, real private property right. The groups will host educational forums throughout the state to help the public understand current groundwater ownership issues. 

"Groundwater is owned by private landowners," said Dave Scott, Texas Southwest Cattle Raisers Association president and rancher. "The Texas Constitution and more than 100 years of case law support this. Unfortunately this property right is under attack. Landowners must defend their ownership of groundwater on the legal, regulatory and legislative fronts."

"There's no doubt that secure, protectable property rights best assure conservation and stewardship of all resources, including groundwater," said Texas Wildlife Association President Tina Y. Buford. "The way private landowners, acting as land stewards, manage their property directly influences quantity and quality of groundwater available to all Texans."

"The ownership of groundwater is one of the most pressing issues facing Texas agriculture today," said Kenneth Dierschke, president of Texas Farm Bureau. "In Farm Bureau we believe ownership of groundwater is a vested property right. The growth of Texas and the future viability of our industry make it imperative to settle this issue in the courts or in the Legislature."    

The growing effort, 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 Dairyman (TAD); and the Texas Land and Mineral Owners Association (TLMA), brings together more than 400,000 Texans who own more than 50 million acres of private property.  

According to estimates by the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), by 2060 Texas' population will more than double, increasing its water demand by 27 percent. Because groundwater from Texas aquifers supply more than half the water for the state, it is critical that groundwater resources be managed to provide for current and future use.  

Each forum will cover various groundwater topics including the current groundwater regulation under the Texas Water Code, legal issues surrounding groundwater, and why groundwater conservation is important not only to private property owners in Texas, but also to Texas communities. All forums are free and open to the public.

Aug. 31 - San Angelo
1:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center
7887 US Hwy 87 North

Sept. 22 - Bryan
1:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Producers Cooperative
1800 N. Texas Avenue

Oct. 14 - Cleburne
1:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Johnson County Cattle Auction
3119 N. Main Street

Oct. 19 - Kingsville
6:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Center
1730 West Corral

Oct. 20 - Victoria
1:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.
First Victoria Bank
101 S. Main Street

Oct. 28 - Lubbock
1:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Merket Alumni Center
17th and University

Nov. 9 - Austin
1:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Capitol Extension Auditorium, E1.004
112 E. 11th Street

TAGS: Livestock
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