The San Antonio Water System and Edwards Aquifer Authority won a significant water rights victory from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which denied an appeal by land owners seeking to revive rights to withdraw aquifer water.
Julie A. Ford, commercial litigator with George Brothers Kincaid & Horton LLP, together with Phil Steven Kosub represented the City of the San Antonio acting through the San Antonio Water System. The case and appeals court ruling were covered by the online legal news service Law360 in an article headlined, “5th Circ. Backs Texas Water Agency in Takings Suit” (subscription required).
The ruling by the three-judge appeals panel agreed with last year’s decision by U.S. District Judge Robert L. Pitman who said the landowners filed their case after a 10-year statute of limitations clock began ticking Dec. 30, 1996. That was the deadline for historical aquifer users to apply for a permit to keep using Edwards Aquifer water under a new state law.
The ruling is important because it will help San Antonio water rate payers and the Edwards Aquifer Authority avoid potential major takings claims. The Aquifer Authority was represented by Deborah Trejo, Mark N. Osborn and Ken Slavin of Kemp Smith LLP.
The case is GG Ranch Ltd, et al. v. Edwards Aquifer Authority et al, case number 15-50505, in the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.