Water Rights


 
No one has title to water. Property owners whose land adjoins bodies of water have reasonable right to the use of the water, but that water is not theirs. Therefore, there are limitations with what a property owner can do with that water.

For your exam, there are some concepts you need to understand regarding water. Depending on where you end up practicing real estate, these concepts may come up during your career as well.

Riparian rights allow a property owner to use water from a water course such as a river, stream, or creek.

Littoral rights concern properties abutting an ocean, sea, or lake rather than a river or stream. Littoral rights are usually concerned with the use and enjoyment of the shore.

An easy way to remember these is that riparian rights have to do with water that is moving in a direction, and littoral rights have to do with water that does not have a direction.

To help you remember, keep saying:

Riparian, River, Riparian, River, Riparian, River, Riparian, River, Riparian, River, Riparian, River, Riparian, River.

Littoral Lake, Littoral Lake, Littoral Lake, Littoral Lake, Littoral Lake, Littoral Lake, Littoral Lake, Littoral Lake, Littoral Lake, Littoral Lake.

Not all memory techniques need to be complicated.

Correlative use allows a property owner the use of underground water or water from a river for irrigation purposes.

In states where water is scarce, the doctrine of prior appropriation determines the use of the water. Under this doctrine, the use of the water is determined by the state, not the owner whose property is adjacent to the body of water.

Accretion occurs when soil is deposited by the natural action of water and may increase the size of the property. Think of accretion as Mother Nature's little gift to a landowner.

Reliction is the gradual change of the water line on real property, which gives the owner more dry land.

Erosion is the wearing away of land or soil by the action of wind, water, currents, or ice.

Avulsion is the sudden tearing away of land by violent action of natural causes, such as a river or other watercourse. A dam breaking is an example of avulsion. So if accretion is natures little gift, this would be Nature's way of saying "screw you" to the land owner.