Do you need a permit to drill a water well on your land? How about a permit to dam a creek or build a bridge over a creek? Attorneys Philip Hundl and Audra Smith talk about these topics at the conclusion of a presentation on Agriculture Law at the Brazoria County Extension Office. Call 800-929-1725 for an appointment or click this link to schedule an appointment online. Attorney Audra Smith is no longer with the Firm, but many of our other attorneys have years of experience in agriculture and property law.
Summary of the Permits for Water Wells, Dams, and Bridges Video
– So here’s some kind of miscellaneous things we wanted to throw in, kind of a catch-all at the end. And Audra, I’ll have you, if you can come up now because we’ll go into some questions.
Permits for Water Wells and Farm Trailers
So this is just some information that’s more specific to Brazoria County, but if you want to drill a water well, what do you need to do? Normally, you need to at least file a report with the water district. If you’re going to have a well that’s going to be a lot larger, and you guys know this, the ones that have large irrigation wells, you’ve got to get a permit from the water district.
The farm trailers, I’m not going to go into that because you’re going to have somebody from TxDOT, who is going to go into that. I’ve got two different trailers, and one, I think, is at one point a farm trailer and one’s not, and all I know is the one that’s not is a lot more expensive each year to renew the license.
Permits for Bridges and Dams
– [Karson] I can do this if you want me to.
– [Audra] Good, Karson can.
– [Philip] Karson, go ahead. Let me talk. I’m going to tie into this because one of my miscellaneous topics was, this probably comes up twice a year, diversion of surface water, okay? I got a call, I went out, and my client’s saying, “Hey, these folks built kind of a little dam along the boundary line, along the property line, and that’s diverting or keeping a lot of drainage water on my property. So, yeah, I mean, they’re in violation of a water code statute. You’re not supposed to obstruct or divert the flow of surface water. So be aware of that. A lot of times, people, “Hey, I want to,” you know, whatever you do on your property could affect someone downstream, upstream, so be careful about that when you’re going to undertake some of type of–
– [Audra] Build a dam–
– Yeah, I mean, some kind of civil engineering on your property, like building a berm or a dam or something like that. So be aware of that. Go ahead, Karson, talk about–
– [Karson] So, I’ll breeze through these real quick. So the two permits that we want to talk about were bridges and dams. And so, for a dam here in the state you can actually use a portion of that non-navigable river, if it’s labeled as one, to actually create a dam. But this dam must meet the requirements there on the screen. It cannot be more than 200 acre feet of water, and it has to be for domestic and livestock purposes and/or commercial and non-commercial wildlife management. So, if you are going to do one, first you have to make sure that it’s non-navigable, and the second thing is you have to make sure you meet that acre-feet requirement.
Also too, there’s another one, or some other purposes that you can actually use it for, which are just more generic fish and wildlife purposes, and for that one it actually has to be on open-space land as defined by the Texas Constitution.
Then the second thing is permits for bridges. Here in the state it’s actually really hard, as probably everybody knows, to get a permit for a bridge. But the General Land Office actually did have a ruling passed that makes them a little more applicable in giving out permits for bridges, but a majority of the time it’s pretty stringent. You can get a bridge on a non-navigable river, but here in the San Bernard, I mean, just a prime example where it is navigable. So even if you have a portion of the San Bernard where it does get skinny enough to where there’s really no traffic, it’s in a very remote location, you still technically can’t erect one because it is labeled as a navigable river.
Information About Easements
– Thank you. Thank you everybody for being here. We want to open it up for questions. I’ve got one other kind of miscellaneous thing, right? So easements, we never did talk about easements much, but let me just say this. If you’re selling some land, and you’re retaining some land, you need to be thinking before you sign that easement or before you sign that earnest-money contract or before the other side does and you’ve got a, quote unquote, at least a deal, think about easements, retaining an easement, establishing an easement so that you can get, you may have a way into your property. You may want another different way into your property. So think about that, because it’s extremely hard to get an easement when you don’t have an easement, because you’ve got to, once again, negotiate or buy one, so.
We’re Here to Help You
The attorneys at Wadler, Perches, Hundl & Kerlick advise farmers, ranchers and property owners concerning a variety of agriculture law issues including easements, boundary disputes, partition of an undivided interest, land condemnation and minimizing landowner liability. All of our attorneys grew up in rural Texas and they were raised in families of farmers, ranchers and landowners. Call 800-929-1725 for an appointment or click this link to schedule an appointment online.