Appeal from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, No. 14849 of 1967, in case of The Borough of Media v. Edgmont Golf Club, Inc.
D. Barry Gibbons, with him Gibbons, Buckley & Smith, for appellant.
Francis T. Sbandi, with him Joseph T. LaBrum, Jr., and Fronefield, deFuria and Petrikin, for appellee.
Jones, C. J., Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice O'Brien. Mr. Justice Eagen dissents.
Appellant, The Borough of Media, a municipality located in Delaware County, owns and operates the Media Water Company. Appellee, Edgmont Golf Club, Inc., is a business corporation which owns and operates a private golf course, consisting of some two hundred acres in Edgmont Township, also in Delaware County. Both the Borough and the Golf Club use the waters of Ridley Creek, which passes through the golf
course on the way to the Water Company's facilities. On April 17, 1931, the Borough entered into an agreement with C. Paul Denckla, the Golf Club's predecessor in title, which agreement, after stating that the Borough had passed an ordinance providing for the condemnation of Ridley Creek, provided in lieu of condemnation for the transfer by Denckla of "all of his right, title, interest, claim and demand in and to the waters of the said Ridley Creek" to the Borough. However, the agreement expressly reserved for Denckla, his heirs and assigns, "the right to use [the water] for household, domestic and farm purposes."
After the Golf Club acquired the property, it began to use large quantities of water from Ridley Creek for the purpose of watering the fairways and greens of the golf course. The water leaves the creek by means of an intake manhole in the creek and then flows by gravity through a pipeline to a lake on the golf course. From this lake, the Golf Club pumps water to the sprinkler system, which waters the golf course.
The Borough, alleging that the Golf Club's use of the waters of Ridley Creek was in violation of its agreement with Denckla, and in addition "greatly impaired the operation of the Borough's water plant, endangering the health, safety and welfare of the water consumers in the area served by [the Borough]" went into equity seeking to enjoin the Golf Club from "using the waters of Ridley Creek to operate, maintain or provide water for its golf course."
The issues were tried by the court on September 17, 1969, and a decree was immediately entered dismissing the complaint of the Borough. After the filing of exceptions by appellant and argument thereon, an adjudication, findings of fact, discussion, conclusions of law, and decree nisi were filed on May 5, 1971. After stipulation of counsel, a final decree dismissing the
Borough's complaint was filed on May 27, 1971. This ...