Usually a blog about flooding would be the last thing on people’s minds in DFW during August. However, with our recent rain and flooding you may be wondering if there is anything you can do about newly found excess water on your property. If that water is causing damage to your property, you may be able to recover from your neighbors.
Section 11.086 of the Texas Water Code provides, subject to a few exceptions, that: no person may divert or impound the natural flow of surface waters in this state, or permit a diversion or impounding by him to continue, in a manner that damages the property of another by the overflow of the water diverted or impounded. It also creates a cause of action for a person whose property is injured by an overflow of water caused by an unlawful diversion or impounding. It states that the injured person will have remedies at law and in equity and may recover damages occasioned by the overflow.
Basically, all you need is, (1) diversion or impoundment of surface water by your neighbor, (2) that diversion or impoundment by your neighbor to cause damage to your property, and (3) to have damage to your property. Any unnatural diversion or impoundment by your neighbor may create a cause of action. Since the statute allows for legal and equitable damages a court can order your neighbor to fix the problem caused by their diversion (re-route the water so that it is not damaging your property anymore) and to pay for any damages that have already been caused.