Texas Agriculture November 4, 2016 : Page 8

Organizations launch Texans for Property Rights coalition Fifteen Texas-based organizations recently announced the Texans for Property Rights coalition, which will lead a grassroots initiative for mean-ingful reform to state eminent do-main laws. As the state population contin-ues to grow at a rapid pace, there is an increasing need for more property to build infrastructure for utilization of natural resources and to address transportation needs. While property owners recognize these demands, they also realize that their property rights must be better protected. In Texas, about 95 percent of the land is privately owned, which puts the needs of the public in direct conflict with the rights of Texas property own-ers. These conflicts are not willing buy-er-willing seller transactions and often play out in expensive, time-consuming, stressful and unfair situations, result-ing in bad outcomes for property own-ers. The Texans for Property Rights coalition is hosting meetings across the state allowing property owners to learn how they can get involved and share their concerns on eminent domain. An overview of current laws and possible improvements will also be presented by an eminent domain legal expert at these meetings. For a list of meeting dates and loca-tions and more information regarding the Texans for Property Rights initia-tive, visit the website at www.texans-forpropertyrights.com. The site in-cludes information on the legislative efforts and serves as a place for prop-erty owners to share their eminent domain stories and sign a petition to support the effort. Property owners are encouraged to visit this site to get involved and make their voices heard. Property rights are the cornerstone of Texas’ freedom, and they are worth the fight. It is for this reason these grassroots organizations have formed the Texans for Property Rights coali-tion. The growing coalition is currently comprised of Texas Farm Bureau, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Rais-ers Association, Texas Wildlife Associa-tion, Texas Forestry Association, South Texans’ Property Rights Association, Texas Poultry Association, Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers Association, Independent Cattlemen’s Association, Texas Grain Sorghum Association, Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., Corn Pro-ducers Association of Texas, Riverside & Landowners Protection Coalition, Texas Land & Mineral Owners Asso-ciation, Texas Association of Dairymen and Texas Cattle Feeders Association. Eminent domain meetings scheduled across Texas Lufkin | Nov. 14 | 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. Pitser Garrison Civic Center, Lufkin Room 601 N. 2nd Street, Lufkin, Texas 75901 Bastrop | Nov. 15 | 6 p.m.-7 p.m. Bastrop Convention and Exhibit Center 1408 Chestnut Street, Bastrop, Texas 78602 Beaumont | Nov. 17 | 6 p.m.-7 p.m. The Holiday Inn & Suites Beaumont Plaza, Austin Room 3950 I-10 South (at Walden Road), Beaumont, Texas 77705 Groundwater district plan recognizes water right By Jessica Domel News Editor A South Texas groundwater district is making history. In what is believed to be a first-of-its-kind move, the Gua-dalupe Groundwater Conservation District in Seguin is implementing a model that allows landowners to de-cide what can be done with the water underneath their property. The district, according to its secre-tary Hilmar Blumberg, uses a three-dimensional model that applies digi-tal surface maps to water saturation thickness. “Using computers, using maps of the saturated section of the Carrizo (Aquifer), we came in and built mod-els and then distributed water rights according to everyone’s fair share of a reasonable limit, of a sustainable limit, of extraction every year based on what percentage of the saturated sand in our district aquifer was un-derneath individual pieces of prop-erty,” Blumberg said in an interview with the Texas Farm Bureau Radio Network. The district used 16-by-16 foot cells on the surface that were projected down through the saturated sections of the aquifer. “It’s very, very finely tuned. It’s very fair, and it distributes these water rights,” Blumberg said. The groundwater district decided to implement the system after realizing major water producers in surround-ing communities were purchasing a few leases and then attempting to take the majority of available water in the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer. The new system protects landown-ers by recognizing the 2012 decision by the Texas Supreme Court that wa-ter is a private property and ground-water regulations must afford each landowner a fair share of the aquifer. The same legal standard that applies to oil and gas. “It allows these water rights, once we’ve distributed them, pro rata de-pending on how much you have un-derneath the property, to allow these water rights to be transferred to any producing well in our district. “Everyone in the surface is now in the marketplace,” Blumberg said. To ensure the aquifer isn’t being pumped beyond its recharge abilities, the district has allotted only five-eighths of the aquifer’s recharge. “We’re very conservationally-minded here,” Blumberg said. “We’re acutely sensitive to the fair distribu-tion of water rights and sustaining a viable marketplace that allows ev-eryone to monetize, to capitalize on what is private property—their un-derground water.” Gabe Collins, an expert at the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, wrote about the groundwater conservation district’s move and how it applies to private property rights. “When Hilmar and I wrote up this case study, one of the things that struck us, and one of our key motiva-tions for doing this, is frankly adopt-ing a three-dimensional management system where you set a production cap and then you manage your with-drawals—in this case, based on re-charge,” Collins said. “You’re actually strengthening people’s private prop-erty rights and their water.” When the groundwater district planned the water setup in 2004, wa-ter was not yet confirmed as private property in Texas. “Hilmar and his other board mem-bers had a sense that was coming down the pipe,” Collins said. In 2012, the Texas Supreme Court affirmed that surface owners, unless they’ve severed their groundwater state, owned the groundwater be-neath their land as private property. “One of the things we definitely see in the medium-and longer-term in the three-dimensional water man-agement system is you obviously have to make tweaks based on vari-ous local, political and hydrological characteristics that may vary be-tween aquifers,” Collins said. In some cases, several groundwa-ter conservation districts may have different approaches for the same aquifer. Blumberg believes the three-dimensional model the Guadalupe Groundwater Conservation District is using could be a fair way to ensure all private property owners’ needs are met fairly. “I think it could be applied to al-most any aquifer in Texas,” Blumberg said. 8 N OVEMBER 4 , 2016

Groundwater District Plan Recognizes Water Right

Jessica Domel

A South Texas groundwater district is making history. In what is believed to be a first-of-its-kind move, the Guadalupe Groundwater Conservation District in Seguin is implementing a model that allows landowners to decide what can be done with the water underneath their property.

The district, according to its secretary Hilmar Blumberg, uses a three-dimensional model that applies digital surface maps to water saturation thickness.

“Using computers, using maps of the saturated section of the Carrizo (Aquifer), we came in and built models and then distributed water rights according to everyone’s fair share of a reasonable limit, of a sustainable limit, of extraction every year based on what percentage of the saturated sand in our district aquifer was underneath individual pieces of property,” Blumberg said in an interview with the Texas Farm Bureau Radio Network.

The district used 16-by-16 foot cells on the surface that were projected down through the saturated sections of the aquifer.

“It’s very, very finely tuned. It’s very fair, and it distributes these water rights,” Blumberg said.

The groundwater district decided to implement the system after realizing major water producers in surrounding communities were purchasing a few leases and then attempting to take the majority of available water in the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer.

The new system protects landowners by recognizing the 2012 decision by the Texas Supreme Court that water is a private property and groundwater regulations must afford each landowner a fair share of the aquifer. The same legal standard that applies to oil and gas.

“It allows these water rights, once we’ve distributed them, pro rata depending on how much you have underneath the property, to allow these water rights to be transferred to any producing well in our district.

“Everyone in the surface is now in the marketplace,” Blumberg said.

To ensure the aquifer isn’t being pumped beyond its recharge abilities, the district has allotted only five-eighths of the aquifer’s recharge.

“We’re very conservationally-minded here,” Blumberg said. “We’re acutely sensitive to the fair distribution of water rights and sustaining a viable marketplace that allows everyone to monetize, to capitalize on what is private property—their underground water.”

Gabe Collins, an expert at the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, wrote about the groundwater conservation district’s move and how it applies to private property rights.

“When Hilmar and I wrote up this case study, one of the things that struck us, and one of our key motivations for doing this, is frankly adopting a three-dimensional management system where you set a production cap and then you manage your withdrawals—in this case, based on recharge,” Collins said. “You’re actually strengthening people’s private property rights and their water.”

When the groundwater district planned the water setup in 2004, water was not yet confirmed as private property in Texas.

“Hilmar and his other board members had a sense that was coming down the pipe,” Collins said.

In 2012, the Texas Supreme Court affirmed that surface owners, unless they’ve severed their groundwater state, owned the groundwater beneath their land as private property.

“One of the things we definitely see in the medium- and longer-term in the three-dimensional water management system is you obviously have to make tweaks based on various local, political and hydrological characteristics that may vary between aquifers,” Collins said.

In some cases, several groundwater conservation districts may have different approaches for the same aquifer.

Blumberg believes the three-dimensional model the Guadalupe Groundwater Conservation District is using could be a fair way to ensure all private property owners’ needs are met fairly.

“I think it could be applied to almost any aquifer in Texas,” Blumberg said.

Read the full article at http://texasagriculture.texasfarmbureau.org/article/Groundwater+District+Plan+Recognizes+Water+Right/2629358/354594/article.html.

Organizations Launch Texans for Property Rights Coalition

Fifteen Texas-based organizations recently announced the Texans for Property Rights coalition, which will lead a grassroots initiative for meaningful reform to state eminent domain laws.

As the state population continues to grow at a rapid pace, there is an increasing need for more property to build infrastructure for utilization of natural resources and to address transportation needs. While property owners recognize these demands, they also realize that their property rights must be better protected.

In Texas, about 95 percent of the land is privately owned, which puts the needs of the public in direct conflict with the rights of Texas property owners. These conflicts are not willing buyer-willing seller transactions and often play out in expensive, time-consuming, stressful and unfair situations, resulting in bad outcomes for property owners.

The Texans for Property Rights coalition is hosting meetings across the state allowing property owners to learn how they can get involved and share their concerns on eminent domain. An overview of current laws and possible improvements will also be presented by an eminent domain legal expert at these meetings.

For a list of meeting dates and locations and more information regarding the Texans for Property Rights initiative, visit the website at www.texansforpropertyrights.com. The site includes information on the legislative efforts and serves as a place for property owners to share their eminent domain stories and sign a petition to support the effort. Property owners are encouraged to visit this site to get involved and make their voices heard.

Property rights are the cornerstone of Texas’ freedom, and they are worth the fight. It is for this reason these grassroots organizations have formed the Texans for Property Rights coalition.

The growing coalition is currently comprised of Texas Farm Bureau, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Texas Wildlife Association, Texas Forestry Association, South Texans’ Property Rights Association, Texas Poultry Association, Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers Association, Independent Cattlemen’s Association, Texas Grain Sorghum Association, Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., Corn Producers Association of Texas, Riverside & Landowners Protection Coalition, Texas Land & Mineral Owners Association, Texas Association of Dairymen and Texas Cattle Feeders Association.

Read the full article at http://texasagriculture.texasfarmbureau.org/article/Organizations+Launch+Texans+for+Property+Rights+Coalition/2629360/354594/article.html.

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