You need to know – What are water rights?

YouNeedToKnowWeb500Water rights are concerned with the ownership or use of water

A piece of real estate may have a lake or a river flowing within its boundaries and there are two significant types of rights that the owner of the property can have to that water:

  • Riparian rights are concerned with streams, rivers or other flowing waterways.  An owner whose property borders such a waterway is not considered the owner of the water, but has the right of reasonable use including fishing and swimming.  However, the owner does not have the right to divert or pollute the water and therefore damaging the rights of others who have a subsequent right to use the same flowing water
  • Littoral rights are concerned with non-flowing water such as lakes or the sea.  Generally, the owner  of a property that borders such non-flowing water has the right up to the shoreline or high water mark