In a Texas Supreme Court ruling, landowners have ownership interests in water resources beneath their property, a decision which greatly affects statewide water management efforts. The controversial ruling says the government has no right to restrict a landowner’s usage of water underneath their property without providing proper compensation.

There had been talk of greatly restricting farmers’ water rights, as the counties and groups across the State scramble to cope with dwindling water supplies. The decision was spurred on by a lawsuit filed against the Edwards Aquifer Authority after they attempted to regulate how a farmer used his groundwater so that the resource could be used farther downstream.

Lawsuits have been filed on both sides, with environmentalists saying allowing farmers water rights would complicate statewide water conservation efforts.