Water Well Journal

August 2015

Water Well Journal

Issue link: http://read.dmtmag.com/i/543740

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Page 13 of 71

g 15 Dec 15-17 egas V as L o t iss e K • • 5 7 . ossibilities s p 's p w o r mor ing xplor sues while e s 's y da o t on t en r eep cur . es vic ts and ser oduc est in pr er the new v o Disc . ld or ound the w ar om our peers fr t with thousands of y onnec C . ts in the eld xper e e eal-lif om r n fr ear L . eas y ar tivit t ac ills a our sk e y v o mpr I . kshops or t w wledge a no our k ease y ncr I . • • • • erExp t a oundw r G erExp t a oundw r G om .c o rExp om .c o rExp Industry NEWSLINE NEWS continues on page 14 Supreme Court to Hear Groundwater Dispute Between Two States T he U.S. Supreme Court on June 29 granted Mississippi's request to file a new lawsuit claiming Memphis, Ten- nessee, is stealing its water, keeping alive a legal battle now in its 11th year. Mississippi filed a motion with the Court early in 2014, requesting permis- sion to file a new complaint seeking at least $615 million in damages. The pro- posed complaint names Memphis, the city-owned Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division (MLGW), and the state of Tennessee as defendants. Mississippi claims Memphis' intense pumping of more than 140 million gal- lons daily is drawing groundwater that belongs to Mississippi. Memphis' wells have created "cones of depression" in the water table that suck water across state lines into Tennessee, according to the filing—which estimates 252 billion gallons have been "forcibly" taken since 1985. The Commercial Appeal in Memphis reports attorneys for the city, MLGW, and Tennessee filed motions responding to Mississippi's complaint. They con- tend Mississippi's claims run counter to legal precedence and science. The deep, high-quality aquifer known alternately as the Memphis Sand and the Sparta Sand is an interstate resource, the re- spondents say, and Mississippi cannot claim ownership of any part of it without a formal process in which the aquifer is apportioned among states. The Mississippi motion is the latest in a legal battle dating back to 2005, according to The Commercial Appeal. That was when the Mississippi Attorney General filed suit against Memphis and MLGW in federal court in Oxford, Mis- sissippi. That suit sought up to $1.3 bil- lion in damages and could have required the city to draw some of its water from the Mississippi River. In February 2008, U.S. District Judge Glen Davidson ruled his court lacked jurisdiction because the state of Tennessee, although not named as a defendant, must be brought in as a "nec- essary and indispensable" party. In such a dispute between states, the arbiter must be the Supreme Court, he said. Davidson's ruling was upheld by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. In Janu- ary 2010, the Supreme Court, without comment, denied Mississippi's motion to overturn an appellate court's ruling and rejected the state's motion to file a new suit. With the Supreme Court session hav- ing concluded in late June, the case will likely be heard in October with a ruling in the summer of 2016. The National Ground Water Associa- tion covered this particular subject at the 2008 Groundwater Summit in Memphis with a session titled "Groundwater Re- sources and Competition: Mississippi, Arkansas, and Tennessee" that featured eight speakers giving presentations. These presentations can be found in the NGWA Archives under the "Publications/ Bookstore" tab at www.NGWA.org. waterwelljournal.com 12 August 2015 WWJ

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