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Texas Court Says Landowners Also Own Groundwater

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AUSTIN (AP) - The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that landowners have an ownership interest in the water underneath their land, a decision that will have wide implications on state water management efforts.

In a landmark ruling, the Court said that the government cannot restrict how a landowner consumes the water underneath their property without compensating them. The case is a victory for a farmer who sued the Edwards Aquifer Authority when it attempted to regulate how he used groundwater so it could be used downstream.

Environmental groups denounced the decision, saying it would lead to even more lawsuits against government authorities that try to manage groundwater resources.

The issue is especially important in Central Texas, where much of the drinking water supply moves across the state in underground aquifers.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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