The long-awaited groundwater ownership bill was signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry on Friday, June 17. SB 332, authored by state Sens. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay,and Allan Ritter, R-Nederland, clarifies that landowners own the groundwater below their land as real property.
Landowner groups across Texas, including the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA), worked with members of the Texas Legislature to ensure SB 332 was passed and made law.
“We want to thank Chairmen Fraser and Ritter, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst, Speaker Straus and the rest of the legislature who worked hard to pass SB 332,” said Joe Parker Jr.,Byers, rancher and TSCRA president. “And we want to especially thank Governor Perry for recognizing the importance of this bill and signing it into law.”
SB 332 states that, “The Legislature recognizes that a landowner owns the groundwater below the surface of the landowner’s land as real property.” The bill goes on to say that landowners are entitled to drill for and produce the groundwater below the surface of real property. SB 332 reaffirms this landowner ownership, but still allows local groundwater conservation districts the ability to manage groundwater.
The bill will go into effect Sept. 1, 2011.