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Who owns your water?

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A True Doomsday Prepper
Mar 5, 2022
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Water. We all need it. If you live in a rural area you most likely have a well and get your water from underground. You've got a well, a spring, or spring fed creek, live along a lake, pond or river...you're golden right? Maybe not.

We have all heard the environmental crowd attack fracking and even placing the blame for earthquakes squarely on its shoulders.

What happens when you take water out of the ground? In some areas, you get what they call subsistence. The ground sinks.

A University of Houston study recently found that areas of Houston and its burbs are sinking. Being that it is a low-lying area to begin with, some homes that were not in a flood plain 20, 30 or 40 years ago, may now be.

Researchers Find ‘Significant Rates’ of Sinking Ground in Houston Suburbs

What does this have to do with prepping?

“The solution” they propose is that more of the water not be removed from the aquifer but, instead from surface water such as lakes and rivers. (There has been a push to declare certain areas an "aquifer protection zone" or an area of residents agreeing to give up their ground water rights to tap an aquifer and let the state control that water).

But…that begs the question of who “owns” or controls those waterways?

In Texas AND many other states, that would be the State.

Under Texas law, the streambed and minerals underlying a navigable stream are the property of the State. Conversely, the streambed and minerals underlying a non-navigable stream are the property of the private landowner. It is important to note, however, that all water in a watercourse–whether navigable or not–is owned by the State of Texas.

Essentially, the ability of the public to use the stream depends upon who owns the bed. If the state owns the streambed (meaning that the stream is navigable), the public has the right to use the bed and banks and the adjacent landowner may not prevent persons from doing so. See Texas Water Code Section 11.096. If, on the other hand, the private landowner owns the streambed (meaning that the stream is classified as non-navigable), the public has no right to use the bed and banks and the landowner may erect barriers to prevent the public from doing so.

Under Texas law, navigable streams are waterways that can be used for trade, transportation or commerce; averages 30' wide (the entire bed not just the width of the flow) from the mouth up (regardless of whether or not they run dry some times of year), and can be traveled are considered Navigable by "fact" or by "statute".

Ultimately though, the Federal Government has been pushing for the EPA to take control of all surface water: that goes for rain catchment, lakes, streams, spring water, rivers, ponds, livestock tanks….they would like to own the aquifer water as well but, that is a bigger jump. Since they are progressive, one step at a time.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Act (CWA) states protection for Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS). WOTUS intends to outline federal jurisdiction over waters, but the act provides no clear definition for WOTUS. This ambiguity has led to interpretation changes between presidential administrations, and further interpretation for regulation is left to the states when there is a loose description for waters.

Many of us have wells. Some of us have spring fed creeks. It will not be beyond the eventual scope and landgrab by the WEF-er’s, to try to control those sources of water, even wells.

Also of interesting note; if you live in Texas and have a “navigable” stream, creek or river running through your property, a person, walking, kayaking, canoeing, on/through that water but, through your property, is NOT trespassing by law.

If you want to dam up part of your spring fed stream, create a reservoir, and put in hydro electric power, you might not be "allowed" to do any of those.

It behooves all of us to know what our State and Local water right laws are AND to keep a close eye on the future actions of the EPA. This is something to take into consideration when looking at property for a BOL.

What are the particulars of water ownership in your State? Might be good to know.
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