Legal Aspects of Subsidence Due to Well Pumping

by William Kopper, Grad. Student Asst.; California Dept. of Water Resources, Sacremento, Calif.,
Donald Finlayson, (M.ASCE), Engr.; Dept.of Water Resources, Los Angeles, Calif.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Irrigation and Drainage Division, 1981, Vol. 107, Issue 2, Pg. 137-149

Document Type: Journal Paper


Subsidence of land due to pumping of ground water is a relatively recent phenomenon. Early cases based on English common law held a person who pumped ground water was not liable for damage to a neighbor's property. In general, the attitude of the nation toward ground-water pumping and subsidence was one of laissez faire. Recent cases and legislative discussions indicate a trend toward holding ground-water pumpers liable for adverse effects of their pumping. The growing recognition that water is a limited resources will, in time, bring about mandatory ground-water management which, in turn, will place the burden of subsidence control on local water agencies.

Subject Headings: Groundwater depletion | Legal affairs | Land subsidence | Wells (water) | Pumps | Groundwater management | Water resources | Laws

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