Coyote Lake Ranch v. City of Lubbock: a ranch, a city and the battle over surface use
Vol. 8 No. 1 (2017). Cover photo: Jacob’s Well, in Hays County, Texas. ©2015 Andy Heatwole.


Coyote Lake Ranch
accomodation doctrine
surface use

How to Cite

Bradbury, James D, Courtney Cox Smith, and Avery Ory. 2017. “Coyote Lake Ranch V. City of Lubbock: A Ranch, a City and the Battle over Surface Use”. Texas Water Journal 8 (1). College Station, Texas:87-96.


In a time when the competition for water resources is increasing, water law and policy for groundwater is evolving, bringing to the fore the conflict between surface use and groundwater. Unlike the oil and gas context where the mineral estate is dominant, the superiority of severed groundwater to the surface estate has remained uncertain. The recent Texas Supreme Court case, Coyote Lake Ranch v. City of Lubbock, addressed this question, holding that the accommodation doctrine (long applied to mineral estates) applied to groundwater interests in that case. On its face, the case was a dispute between a Texas city and a landowner over the use and damage to surface property caused by groundwater development. The implications of the Supreme Court’s holding, however, run deep and are significant in this time of growing water scarcity. The Coyote Lake Ranch case signals a continued push toward unifying the law governing mineral and groundwater law and emphasizes the need for the courts and the Texas Legislature to be proactive in balancing the interests and rights of all parties.

Citation: Bradbury JD, Smith CC, Ory A. 2017. Coyote Lake Ranch v. City of Lubbock: a ranch, a city and the battle over surface use. Texas Water Journal. 8(1):87-96. Available from:
Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2017 James D Bradbury, Courtney Cox Smith, Avery Ory