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Board of County Commissioners v. Park County Sportsmen’s Ranch, LLP

    Brief Fact Summary.

    The Woodbury’s appealed a judgment in favor of Park County Sportsmen’s Ranch, LLP (PCSR) that allowed PCSR to use the Woodbury’s property for water storage.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    A landowner has no property rights in naturally flowing water that moves across or below his property.

    Facts.

    Park County Sportsmen’s Ranch, LLP (PCSR) implemented a plan to use aquifers underneath the Woodbury’s property to store water. The Woodbury’s sued the PCSR claiming that the PCSR could not use their property for water storage. The court granted judgment in favor of PCSR.

    Issue.

    Whether a landowner has property rights in naturally flowing water that moves across or below his property.

    Held.

    No. Because the aquifers are a natural formation, PCSR does not have to pay or seek permission to the Woodbury’s to store water underneath their property.

    Concurrence.

    (Kourlis, J.) Although a landowner may not have property rights to a river or stream, the landowner will have property rights to caves the are below his land.

    Discussion.

    If a water rights holder builds something on the landowner’s property, then the water rights holder is required to compensate or seek the permission of the landowner.


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