Real Property – Water Rights – Liability for Discharge of Surface Water

In 1950 the corporate defendants purchased a forty acre tract of farm land lying north of plaintiffs’ golf course and restaurant. Drainage from this tract had always flowed in a natural course southerly through plaintiffs’ land. The defendant corporations constructed a subdivision of 169 homes on the tract. This change aggravated the discharge of surface water onto the land of the plaintiffs, increasing the run-off some 350 percent and, in times of heavy rains, producing flood conditions. Plaintiffs were awarded damages and an injunction by the trial court. On appeal, held, reversed. In respect to 30 acres of defendants’ land, since the increased discharge was the result of improvements to the land and was drained to substantially the same locality as before the improvements were made, although by artificial means and in greater volume and force, plaintiffs were not entitled to relief. Yonadi v. Homestead Country Homes, Inc., 35 N.J. Super. 514, 114 A. (2d) 564 (1955).