Water Resources:

Highfield Water Company Should Not Receive Compensation From the U.S. Army

RCED-93-49: Published: May 10, 1993. Publicly Released: May 10, 1993.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed a firm's claims for lost property and damages against the Department of the Army for improper and excessive groundwater pumping during periods of drought between 1974 and 1978.

GAO found that: (1) the firm did not support its claim against the Army's use of groundwater; (2) the Army's operations did not exceed the aquifer's capacity or derive the firm of the resources it needed; (3) the firm's inability to meets its customers' water utility needs resulted from a lack of wells, structural and maintenance problems, and the firm's inability to meet financial requirements for distribution system repairs; (4) the firm's authority to sell water did not constitute ownership or rights to the groundwater shared with the Army, since the state of Maryland initially drilled the wells; (5) the Army was not required to obtain the firm's permission, obtain a state water appropriation permit, or use surface water before pumping groundwater; and (6) the firm was not entitled to any compensation.

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