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Water Rights

Definition

Water right in water law refers to the right of a user to use water from a water source, e.g., a river, stream, pond or source of groundwater. In areas with plentiful water and few users, such systems are generally not complicated or contentious. In other areas, especially arid areas where irrigation is practiced, such systems are often the source of conflict, both legal and physical. Some systems treat surface water and ground water in the same manner, while others use different principles for each.

What is 'Water Rights'

Water rights are one of the interests that may attach to real estate ownership, and pertain to the rights to use adjacent bodies of water. Riparian rights are awarded to land owners whose property is located along a river, stream or lake. Typically, landowners have the right to use the water as long as such use does not harm upstream or downstream neighbors. In the event the water is a non-navigable waterway, the landowner generally owns the land beneath the water to the exact center of the waterway.

Explaining 'Water Rights'

Littoral rights pertain to landowners whose land border large, navigable lakes and oceans. Landowners with littoral rights have unrestricted access to the waters but own the land only to the median high-water mark.


After this point, the land is owned by the government. Water rights are appurtenant, meaning they are attached to the land and not to the owner. In other words, if a ocean front property is sold, the new owner gains the littoral rights; the seller relinquishes his or her rights.


Further Reading


The economic and financial gains from water markets in Chile
www.sciencedirect.com [PDF]
… of water values is greatly influenced by the value of water to a few profitable buyers of water-use rights. There are some small transfers of water to devel- opers of small residential and tourist housing along the valley and on … KW Easter~Agricultural Economics 15 (1997) 187-199 …

Formal water markets: why, when, and how to introduce tradable water rightsFormal water markets: why, when, and how to introduce tradable water rights
academic.oup.com [PDF]
… of water values is greatly influenced by the value of water to a few profitable buyers of water-use rights. There are some small transfers of water to devel- opers of small residential and tourist housing along the valley and on … KW Easter~Agricultural Economics 15 (1997) 187-199 …

Markets in tradable water rights: Potential for efficiency gains in developing country water resource allocationMarkets in tradable water rights: Potential for efficiency gains in developing country water resource allocation
www.sciencedirect.com [PDF]
… of water values is greatly influenced by the value of water to a few profitable buyers of water-use rights. There are some small transfers of water to devel- opers of small residential and tourist housing along the valley and on … KW Easter~Agricultural Economics 15 (1997) 187-199 …

Financing irrigation water management and infrastructure: A reviewFinancing irrigation water management and infrastructure: A review
www.tandfonline.com [PDF]
… of water values is greatly influenced by the value of water to a few profitable buyers of water-use rights. There are some small transfers of water to devel- opers of small residential and tourist housing along the valley and on … KW Easter~Agricultural Economics 15 (1997) 187-199 …

The uses of the practicably irrigable acreage standard in the quantification of reserved water rightsThe uses of the practicably irrigable acreage standard in the quantification of reserved water rights
heinonline.org [PDF]
… of water values is greatly influenced by the value of water to a few profitable buyers of water-use rights. There are some small transfers of water to devel- opers of small residential and tourist housing along the valley and on … KW Easter~Agricultural Economics 15 (1997) 187-199 …

Economic and financial returns from Chile's water marketsEconomic and financial returns from Chile's water markets
link.springer.com [PDF]
… of water values is greatly influenced by the value of water to a few profitable buyers of water-use rights. There are some small transfers of water to devel- opers of small residential and tourist housing along the valley and on … KW Easter~Agricultural Economics 15 (1997) 187-199 …

Water as an Economic Good and Demand Management Water as an Economic Good and Demand Management
www.tandfonline.com [PDF]
… of water values is greatly influenced by the value of water to a few profitable buyers of water-use rights. There are some small transfers of water to devel- opers of small residential and tourist housing along the valley and on … KW Easter~Agricultural Economics 15 (1997) 187-199 …

Power, nature and neoliberalism: the political ecology of water in ChilePower, nature and neoliberalism: the political ecology of water in Chile
onlinelibrary.wiley.com [PDF]
… of water values is greatly influenced by the value of water to a few profitable buyers of water-use rights. There are some small transfers of water to devel- opers of small residential and tourist housing along the valley and on … KW Easter~Agricultural Economics 15 (1997) 187-199 …

Meeting water needs in developing countries: Resolving issues in establishing tradable water rightsMeeting water needs in developing countries: Resolving issues in establishing tradable water rights
link.springer.com [PDF]
… of water values is greatly influenced by the value of water to a few profitable buyers of water-use rights. There are some small transfers of water to devel- opers of small residential and tourist housing along the valley and on … KW Easter~Agricultural Economics 15 (1997) 187-199 …

Comments on Current Issues: The" New" Arizona v. California: Practicably Irrigable Acreage and Economic FeasibilityComments on Current Issues: The" New" Arizona v. California: Practicably Irrigable Acreage and Economic Feasibility
www.jstor.org [PDF]
… of water values is greatly influenced by the value of water to a few profitable buyers of water-use rights. There are some small transfers of water to devel- opers of small residential and tourist housing along the valley and on … KW Easter~Agricultural Economics 15 (1997) 187-199 …



Q&A About Water Rights


Where do some economists argue that water markets operate efficiently?

Some economists argue that water markets operate efficiently in places such as Chile and Australia.

What are water rights?

Water rights are one of the interests that may attach to real estate ownership, and pertain to the rights to use adjacent bodies of water.

How can water trading promote more efficient allocation of resources?

Water trading promotes more efficient allocation of resources because a market based price acts as an incentive for users to allocate resources from low value activities to high value activities.

Who does not have formal water trading schemes?

Some countries, especially in South Asia, also have informal water trading schemes.

Who has riparian rights?

Riparian Rights are awarded to landowners who live along rivers streams and lakes typically these people have permission for using their waters so long as they don't hurt upstream or down stream neighbors in case if it's non navigable body of waters then usually they own all lands beneath that body of waters up till its exact middle point after which it belongs government officials .Littoral Right belong those people who live near big oceans and lakes these people can freely use their surrounding waters but only upto median high-water mark after which it belongs government officials .Water Rights appurtenant means they're attached with lands not owners themselves so if ocean front property is sold new owner gains littoral right seller relinquishes his/her right .

What are riparian rights?

Riparian rights are awarded to land owners whose property is located along a river, stream or lake. Typically, landowners have the right to use the water as long as such use does not harm upstream or downstream neighbors. In the event the water is a non-navigable waterway, the landowner generally owns the land beneath the water to the exact center of the waterway. Littoral rights pertain to landowners whose land border large, navigable lakes and oceans. Landowners with littoral rights have unrestricted access to the waters but own only up until median high-water mark. After this point, it's owned by government officials. Water Rights are appurtenant meaning they're attached to land and not owner themselves in other words if ocean front property is sold new owner gains littoral right seller relinquishes his or her right

What is water rights?

Water rights are the legal right to use a certain amount of water.

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