– original case was remanded because though a landowner may use his land as he
pleases for lawful purposes, a land owner may not disrupt a watercourse to the
injury of his neighbors

Issue: Should the court depart from the common law rule of absolute dominion and
adopt the groundwater rules set forth in the Restatement
Holding: Affirmed, the absolute dominion rule still applies to Maine.
– The absolute dominion rule: a property owner may use his land as he please for
all lawful purposes but the owner may not interrupt or interfere with the
watercourse benefiting another’s land, whether that watercourse is above ground
or below ground.
– An excavator will not be liable for damages if in the effect of the excavation he
cuts of and diverts water which percolates through the ground or hidden veins to
feed the neighbor’s well or spring. If the aquifer is not a water course, there is no
– A watercourse is defined as a course of water flowing in a particular direction by
a regular channel having a bed with banks and sides and usually discharging itself
into some other body or stream of water. A watercourse need not flow
continuously or never by dry
– The Restatement approach provides that a landowner who withdraws
groundwater, whether in a watercourse or percolating, and uses it for a beneficial
purpose is not subject to liability for interference with the use of water by another.
However, if the withdrawal causes unreasonable harm to a neighbor by lowering
the water table, exceeds the owner’s reasonable share, or has a direct effect on a
watercourse and unreasonably causes arm to one entitled to that water, then the
owner may be liable
– The reasonable use doctrine differs because it requires that water not be wasted,
but the Restatement balances the equities and hardships between competing users
– P contests that the absolute dominion rule is based on faulty science. However,
the court is not convinced that it is the improper rule for Maine, P has presented
no evidence to indicate that the rule is counterproductive to the goals of justice
– The court also believes that the legislature would be more equipped to weigh the
heavy considerations involved with this issue. The legislature can study the
ramifications of a change in policy, it can call upon experts to give their opinions
as to the best water policy for Maine, and conduct a survey. The legislature did in
fact create a board to do a study, and they suggested the reasonable use doctrine
by employed, but the legislature chose to leave the common law intact