Civil law or natural flow rule interpreted to allow artificial drainage of subsurface water

While the "free use" rule generally allows an owner to expel surface and subsurface water without liability, the civil law or "natural flow' rule imposes liability on an owner who artificially captures and expels such waters, especially if done in a direction different from the watercourse or the natural direction of water flow. However, interpreting a state statute codifying the civil law rule, (S.D. Codified Laws §46A-10A-70, the South Dakota Supreme Court allowed an owner to expel subsurface waters through a drainage system as long as the water followed the natural direction of drainage and the water discharged into any established or natural watercourse. In re Drainage Permit 11-81, 922 N.W.2d 263 (S.D. 2019).