Water rights revisited; how deep is thy well?
July 29, 2007
If you have something on or under your property and someone takes it, did that someone steal it? Then, how do you feel if the state of Missouri agrees they will do “nothing” about it?

Did you know the courts consider Missouri to be a “riparian” state? But Webster’s New World Dictionary defines “riparian” as “relating to, or living on the bank of a river, lake, etc.” How many rural homeowners live on the bank of a river, lake, etc.?

The Missouri Department of Natural Resoures tells me the water under my land is mine. Therefore, I can have the right to use it any way I want. So does every other property owner.

I am a rural land owner. Our home is on our land. In order to have water, we need a well. I am guessing on an average day, we might use 200 gallons a day. Just up the road, there is to be a new neighbor that might use anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 gallons A DAY.

Gravity causes water to flow to a lower level. What happens to my well if his well is drilled deeper than mine? His deeper well is going to pull the water away from my well. At 10,000 to 50,000 gallons A DAY, how long before I begin to lose the water under my property? My water has now become his water. DID HE STEAL MY WATER?

This new neighbor up the road is going to be a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation. The MDNR says it’s OK for this CAFO to use the H2O anyway he wants. I guess I need to come with some initials in order to protect what the State of Missouri says is legally mine. I know, how about WDJPC?

The DNR has stated “(t)he only law that deals with the water use is the Major Water Users Law. It requires major water users...to register with the department as major water users and report their annual water usage. This law, however, is non-regulatory, and contains no penalty provision for noncompliance.” In other words, this law is not even an enforceable law. Even using 50,000 gallons of water a day, CAFOs do not fall under this non-law.

Rural Missouri had better pay attention to what is going on with the DNR and these CAFOs. If rural Missourians continue to ignore these CAFOs, some of us will be SOL.

The MDNR states “(f)or the Department or any other agency to regulate how water is used would require new legislation.” Contact your county commissioners, State Representative, State Senator, attorney general, and governor. Let everyone know how you feel about the stealing of your water source! You should demand legal protection of your water now!

Commentary by Wm. David Jackson, private citizen
Arrow Rock, MO

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