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Appendix 3. Texas Supreme Court Cases and Other Significant Texas Cases

Porter, Charles R. Texas A&M University Press ePub



The Adjudication of Water Rights in the Medina River Watershed of the San Antonio River Basin v. Alamo National Bank Independent Executor, 645 S.W.2d 596; 1982 Tex. App. LEXIS 5610 (1982)

City of Del Rio, Petitioner, v. Clayton Sam Colt Hamilton Trust, by and through Its Trustee, J. R. Hamilton, Respondent, 08–755

Chronological Documents in the Texas Supreme Court Case File:

Petition for Review—Filed: 10/30/2008

Response to Petition / Appendix—Filed: 02/05/2009

Amicus Brief—San Antonio Water System—Received: 02/19/2009

Amicus Brief—Mesa Water—Received: 02/27/2009

Amended Reply to Response to Petition—Filed: 03/25/2009

Amicus Brief—Texas Farm Bureau—Received: 03/25/2009

Petitioner’s Brief on the Merits—Filed: 05/27/2009

Respondent’s Brief on the Merits / Appendix—Filed: 06/30/2009

Amicus Brief—CRMWA—Received: 06/30/2009

Amicus Brief—City of Amarillo—Received: 06/30/2009

Reply Brief—Filed: 07/20/2009

Amicus Brief—Stewart Title Guaranty Company—Received: 08/05/2009

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6. Supply and Demand, Today and Tomorrow

Porter, Charles R. Texas A&M University Press ePub


Why is an understanding of water rights in Texas more important today than ever before in our history? Because Texas currently has a strong economy, and experts project Texas will experience long-term growth.


Most experts expect the population of Texas to almost double by 2060. That growth would put tremendous pressure on our water resources, and predictions show a trend downward in the supply of water versus demand over the same time period, even without the recurring droughts. But in drought times, sure to revisit regularly, the predictions are dire indeed. In the state water plan for 2012, water development board chair Edward G. Vaughan wrote in his cover letter this significant statement: “The primary message of the 2012 State Water Plan is a simple one: In serious drought conditions, Texas does not and will not have enough water to meet the needs of its people, its businesses, and its agricultural enterprises. . . . This plan also presents the sobering news of the economic losses likely to occur if these water supply needs cannot be met.”1

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7. How We Use Water

Porter, Charles R. Texas A&M University Press ePub


Most of us are unaware of the number of ways we use water in our society, how vital these uses are to our way of life, and how these uses impact each other because they all draw water from the common pool in the hydrologic cycle. Some uses are highly consumptive (water is removed with no direct return); others are less so. But each and every time we use water, we change it and return it to the hydrological cycle along with the debris and by-products of our daily lives, some of which are toxic. In only the past 34 years, since the passage of environmental protection laws, have we begun to establish the obligations users have to the quality of water when it is returned after use. This return flow of water is still the most overlooked aspect of water management yet may be the most critical for our future.

The major uses of water are for domestic purposes and livestock, which in Texas include wildlife use; for agricultural irrigation; for municipalities; and for industry. The use of water for the environment, referred to as “environmental flows,” is now also recognized as one of the most important and legally protected water uses in Texas. In fact, the supralegal authority of the US Fish and Wildlife Service has a massive impact on water planning in all Texas water policy, especially in the Edwards Aquifer region and on the coast.

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Appendix 2. Government and Other Resources

Porter, Charles R. Texas A&M University Press ePub



1. Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA): www.edwardsaquifer.org. This is the website of the most influential groundwater district in the state. It is also an extensive site with access to everything the EAA is authorized to regulate.

2. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): www.epa.gov. This federal website includes extensive information about issues pertaining to water across the United States.

3. Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA): www.lcra.org. The website of the LCRA is full of good information about weather and river conditions.

4. River authorities: Use the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department site for links to all the river authorities in Texas: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/landwater/water/habitats/rivers/authorities.phtml.

5. San Antonio Water System (SAWS): www.saws.org. The SAWS website has extensive information about San Antonio’s water supply system and also keeps up a fine internal site on the status of the Edwards Aquifer upon which San Antonio depends for its freshwater. SAWS is a water policy leader in the state and heavily influences water issues. Prudent researchers should place themselves on the mailing list to receive in advance the agendas of SAWS meetings.

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9. Water and Everyday Real Estate Transactions

Porter, Charles R. Texas A&M University Press ePub


Water rights and everyday real estate transactions set the market value of land and have far-reaching consequences for every Texan. Today, assessing the water characteristics of property presents unique challenges to buyers, sellers, lessors, lessees, and real estate agents. The water scarcity predicted in our future requires potential buyers to consider a variety of heretofore less-often-considered assessment criteria. Likewise, the potential of future water scarcity requires sellers and their real estate agents to exercise extreme caution and prudence in their duties of disclosure of the water situation of any property being offered for sale.


The TWDB’s State Water Plan for 2012 posed this primary question: “Do we have enough water for the future?” The answer was unequivocally that we did not. According to the plan’s executive summary, “We do not have enough existing water supplies today to meet the demand for water during times of drought. In the event of severe drought conditions, the state would face an immediate need for additional water supplies of 3.6 million acre-feet per year with 86 percent of that need in irrigation and about 9 percent associated directly with municipal water users. Total needs are projected to increase by 130 percent between 2010 and 2060 to 8.3 million acre-feet per year. In 2060, irrigation represents 45 percent of the total and municipal users account for 41 percent of needs.”1

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