riparian right

riparian right
a right, as fishing or use of water for irrigation or power, enjoyed by a person who owns riparian property.

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In law, the right of one who owns riparian land (land abutting or including a stream or river) to have access to and use of the shore and water.

These rights are a form of real property (see real and personal property) and are inherited with the land. A landowner whose property abuts an ocean, sea, lake, or pond is said to possess littoral rights. Specific water-use laws vary from state to state.

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      in property law, doctrine pertaining to properties adjacent to a waterway that (a) governs the use of surface water and (b) gives all owners of land contiguous to streams, lakes, and ponds equal rights to the water, whether the right is exercised or not. The riparian right is usufructuary, meaning that the landowner does not own the water itself but instead enjoys a right to use the water and its surface (see usufruct).

      Some countries and most U.S. jurisdictions regard the water as state property. In the United States the public aspect of water is distinguished by riparian water rights, which—although increasingly regulated—are considered to be private property rights and are protected against governmental seizure by the U.S. Constitution (Constitution of the United States of America). Two distinct legal doctrines evolved concerning such rights. Historically, the English water law first adopted in the United States was premised on the natural-flow doctrine, pursuant to which a riparian owner has the right to a natural-water flow of undiminished quantity and unimpaired quality. By the mid-19th century, however, virtually all American states had repudiated the natural-flow doctrine in favour of a second doctrine, that of “reasonable use.” Unlike natural-flow doctrine, which limited or opposed any alteration to a watercourse, reasonable-use doctrine favoured developmental use of the country's watercourses, initially for supplying power by turning waterwheels and later for hydroelectric power and other off-stream consumptive purposes. Under the reasonable-use doctrine, the riparian owner is permitted to make any reasonable use of the water. Although the definition of the term reasonable is context-sensitive, it is based on the notion that the use should not deprive or hinder other riparian users from correlative enjoyment of the resource. A typical case involving the principles of common law riparianism regards the recreational use of a lake. For example, a riparian user who builds a marina in order to lease a substantial number of boat slips on a small lake might be making an unreasonable use if this causes crowding on the lake and degrades recreational use by other riparian property owners.

Robert H. Abrams

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • riparian right — n: the right of one owning riparian land to have access to and use of the shore and water Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996 …   Law dictionary

  • riparian right — noun A right of one who owns the land by the river, stream or creek, to have access to and use of the shore and water.<! For example, to have the right to use water for household purposes and for the watering of a domestic garden, although the …   Wiktionary

  • riparian right — noun right of access to water • Syn: ↑water right • Hypernyms: ↑right * * * noun : the right of one owning riparian land to have access to and use of the shore and water compare littoral right, water right * …   Useful english dictionary

  • riparian right — ripar′ian right′ n. law a right, as fishing or use of water for irrigation or power, enjoyed by a person who owns riparian property • Etymology: 1885–90 …   From formal English to slang

  • riparian right — noun Date: circa 1860 a right (as access to or use of the shore, bed, and water) of one owning riparian land …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • riparian right — /raɪˌpɛəriən ˈraɪt/ (say ruy.pairreeuhn ruyt) noun (usually plural) a right held by a person who owns or occupies land adjacent to a watercourse, lake, lagoon, wetland, etc., to take water free of charge for ordinary domestic use or for the… …  

  • right — rightable, adj. /ruyt/, adj., righter, rightest, n., adv., v. adj. 1. in accordance with what is good, proper, or just: right conduct. 2. in conformity with fact, reason, truth, or some standard or principle; correct: the right solution; the… …   Universalium

  • Riparian water rights — (or simply riparian rights) is a system of allocating water among those who possess land about its source. It has its origins in English common law. Riparian rights exist in many countries with a common law heritage, such as Canada, Australia,… …   Wikipedia

  • riparian rights — n. The rights of those who own property on the banks of rivers and streams related to use of the water and the land bordering it. The Essential Law Dictionary. Sphinx Publishing, An imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. Amy Hackney Blackwell. 2008.… …   Law dictionary

  • right — / rīt/ n [Old English riht, from riht righteous] 1 a: qualities (as adherence to duty or obedience to lawful authority) that together constitute the ideal of moral propriety or merit moral approval b: something that is morally just able to… …   Law dictionary

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