Product ID: 101905RPT

Texas Drainage and Flood Law

Lawrence G. Dunbar — Attorney, Dunbar Harder PLLC
Texas Drainage and Flood Law

Drainage law generally follows property law concepts that emphasize the rights of landowners. Landowners have certain rights and obligations pertaining to both surface water and groundwater. The discussion in this paper will only deal with surface water, and only as it pertains to flooding and drainage issues versus water supply, water use or water quality issues. Drainage of storm water runoff from the land is a natural occurrence, and depends on the natural topography. Interfering with the natural topography such as through land development alters the natural drainage and can result in damage to nearby properties. In general, the flooding of land is also a natural occurrence, being the result of an excessive amount of rainfall that produces more storm water runoff than can be handled by the receiving watercourse. However, such flooding can be aggravated by land development activities. Liability for any resulting damages may and should lie with those responsible for the alterations to the natural topography. Storm water regulations have been implemented at the state and local levels in an attempt to control and limit the potential for land development activities causing damage to the property of others. Both statutory and common laws also address the need to control land alterations so as not to harm others.

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