Water Rights and Eminent Domain

Water is a critical resource for personal, agricultural, and commercial use, and in a state like Texas where water scarcity can pose significant challenges, understanding and managing water rights is essential for landowners. Water rights not only impact the value and use of a property, but they also play a significant role in eminent domain cases. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the importance of water rights in the context of eminent domain for Texas landowners and how Owners Advocacy Group can help navigate the complexities of water resources management.

Understanding Water Rights in Texas

In Texas, water rights are generally categorized into two groups: surface water rights and groundwater rights. Surface water rights pertain to water found in rivers, lakes, and streams, while groundwater rights relate to water found beneath the surface in aquifers. Texas water law is based on a combination of the “rule of capture” for groundwater and the “prior appropriation” doctrine for surface water.

Surface Water Rights:

Under the prior appropriation doctrine, surface water is owned by the state, and landowners must obtain a permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to use it. Permits are granted on a first-come, first-served basis, and the rights holder must put the water to beneficial use without wasting it.

Groundwater Rights:

Texas follows the rule of capture for groundwater, which allows landowners to pump and use water beneath their property without a permit, subject to certain restrictions. However, local groundwater conservation districts may impose additional regulations and permitting requirements to manage and protect groundwater resources.

Water Rights in the Context of Eminent Domain

Eminent domain is the power of the government to acquire private property for public use, subject to just compensation for the property owner. Water rights can play a significant role in eminent domain cases in Texas, particularly when the property being acquired has access to valuable water resources.

Valuation of Water Rights:

When the government exercises eminent domain, it must provide just compensation for the property owner. This includes the value of the land and any improvements, as well as the value of the water rights associated with the property. Accurately valuing water rights can be a complex process, and it is essential for landowners to work with experienced professionals to ensure fair compensation.

Protection of Water Rights:

In some cases, landowners may be able to negotiate with the government to retain certain water rights even after the property has been acquired through eminent domain. This can help ensure continued access to water resources and protect the landowner’s interests.

How Owners Advocacy Group Can Assist

Owners Advocacy Group is dedicated to helping Texas landowners effectively navigate the complexities of water rights and eminent domain. Our team of experts can provide comprehensive assistance in the following areas:


Our eminent domain negotiation services focus on identifying deficiencies in appraisals and working towards securing the actual fair market value for your water rights. We strive to negotiate a fair deal between all parties involved to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients.


We support businesses and homeowners in relocating when their property is affected or taken through eminent domain. Our team provides guidance throughout every step of the process, from finding a new home to submitting reimbursement claims, ensuring that our clients receive the maximum amount of compensation possible.

Appraisal Review & Analysis:

Our team conducts thorough appraisal reviews and analyses to ensure that property owners are fairly compensated for their water rights. We examine the value of land, the age of comparable sales, and any potential costs to cure deficiencies. If any issues are identified in the appraisals, we recommend obtaining a new appraisal to ensure fair compensation.

Title Coordination & Curative:

We offer title coordination and curative services to address any title issues related to your water rights. Our team works diligently to remove any blemishes on your title that are not your responsibility, develop a plan to cure any issues that are your responsibility and secure any required releases from agencies before closing on the property. This comprehensive approach enables our clients to move forward without any lingering title concerns.

By partnering with Owners Advocacy Group, you can be confident that your water rights and property interests are being expertly managed and protected throughout the eminent domain process. Our extensive range of services ensures that you receive the support and guidance necessary to achieve the best possible outcome in your case.


Understanding and managing water rights is crucial for Texas landowners, particularly in the context of eminent domain. The complexities of water rights and the potential impact on property value and use make it essential for landowners to be well-informed and prepared. Owners Advocacy Group is dedicated to helping landowners navigate the intricacies of water rights and eminent domain, providing expert guidance and support every step of the way. By partnering with us, you can be confident that your water resources are being managed effectively and that your rights as a landowner are protected throughout the eminent domain process.

Contact us today to learn more!

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