Did you know that the population of Texas is expected to grow by over 40% in the next 50 years or so? That will place large new demands on the state’s water supply. As demand increases, we are likely to see an increase in regulation, as well.
Have you been contacted about selling or leasing your groundwater or surface water rights? You should not try to negotiate a sale or lease on your own. Instead, bring in an attorney who has practical experience handling the process.
What legal services might be necessary in a water rights case?
There is a lot at stake. Not only do you want a fair price for your water rights, but you also need to protect the water and your rights in the long term. As regulation increases, you want to make sure that you can afford to comply with new mandates. You want to ensure that you’re getting the same rates as comparable landowners and that any damage to your land is limited.
Depending on your situation, you might need:
- Negotiation or drafting of the agreement to transfer or assign your water rights through purchase, lease or trust
- Enforcement of your water rights
- Resolution of water rights disputes
- Assistance with financing for water infrastructure projects
- Assistance with permitting and regulatory compliance
- Protection or valuation of your water rights in an eminent domain proceeding
Your buyer might be a municipality, a utility, a groundwater management district or another entity. Sometimes, these entities have the power of eminent domain, which can mean you will have little choice but to grant them at least some of your water rights.
If you are involved in an eminent domain action involving your water rights, be aware that you are entitled to just compensation. This is generally the fair market value of the property when put to its highest and best use. Value can be difficult to determine, so it is important to hire an attorney with experience handling eminent domain cases.
Don’t leave your rights up to chance. If you have been contacted about selling or leasing your water rights, work with an attorney who has handled these types of cases in the past and who knows whether what you’re being offered is fair and customary.