The Kansas Court of Appeal has ruled that the state's top water regulator doesn't have power to reduce a landowner's water rights once a permit has been issue.
This month's decision could limit the state's ability to conserve water resources in the dwindling Ogallala Aquifer.
In the ruling, the appeals court also found that the chief engineer of the Division of Water Resources may require farm irrigators to install costly metering equipment on their wells to ensure compliance with their permits.
The case involved one of the largest family-owned farming corporations in the state, Clawson Land Partnership. Together with a closely affiliated group, Clawson Farm Partnership, the group operates in several counties in western Kansas and the panhandle areas of Oklahoma and Texas.