The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a case dealing with the use and distribution of groundwater reserves in aquifers that transcend state boundaries. Mississippi claims Tennessee has been pumping water to a point where the land is shifting beneath wells in Mississippi, altering the direction the water moves underground and is seeking $651 million in compensation.
A Special Master (Eugene Siler of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals) was appointed by the Supreme Court to hear the case in 2015, and in the subsequent time period, the two states have been going back and forth with various motions to try to force a pleading or dismissal of the case, establish a briefing and hearing schedule, and make subsequent modifications of the schedule.
At present, discovery should be completed by the end of August 2017, and by the end of September 2017, a plan will be proposed to establish a hearing/post-hearing schedule. Additional updates will be provided in the fall as the case progresses.
The case is the first time the U.S. Supreme Court has considered groundwater reserves beneath state boundaries, and the decision could impact water rights laws in the United States.