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 The Court first ruled that government-induced flooding can constitute a taking in Pumpelly v. Green Bay Co., 80 U.S. 166, 13 Wall. 166, 20 L. Ed. 557 (1872). The Wisconsin Legislature had authorized the defendant to build a dam which led to the creation of a lake, permanently submerging the plaintiff's land. The defendant argued that the land had not been taken because the government did not exercise the right of eminent domain to acquire title to the affected property. Moreover, the defendant urged, the damage was merely “a consequential result” of the dam's construction near the plaintiff's property. Id., at 177, 13 Wall. 166, 20 L. Ed. 557. Rejecting that crabbed reading of the Takings Clause, the Court held that “where real estate is actually invaded by superinduced additions of water, earth, sand, or other material . . . so as to effectually destroy or impair its usefulness, it is a taking, within the meaning of the Constitution.” Id., at 181, 13 Wall. 166, 20 L. Ed. 557.

Following Pumpelly, the Court recognized that seasonally recurring flooding could constitute a taking. United States v. Cress, 243 U.S. 316, 37 S. Ct. ...

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