Town of Avon v. W. Cent. Conservancy Dist.Annotate this Case
Washington Township and the West Central Conservancy District (WCCD) owned property within the Town of Avon's boundaries that overlay an underground aquifer. After the Township and WCCD began exploring the possibility of drilling wells into the aquifer in order to withdraw water and sell it to third parties, the Town passed an ordinance that (1) prohibited taking water from a watercourse for retail, wholesale, or mass distribution unless done on behalf of the Town, and (2) defined a watercourse as any body of water whether above or below ground. The Township and WCCD filed complaints challenging the ordinance's validity under the state's Home Rule Act. The trial court granted summary judgment for the Township and WCCD. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the aquifer at issue was a watercourse under Indiana law; (2) the Home Rule Act permitted the Town to regulate another political unit's attempt to withdraw water from the aquifer; and (3) the Town's proposed regulation was not preempted by statutes authorizing the Department of Natural Resources to regulate aquifers.