Water Rights

AAA

DEFINITION of '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.

BREAKING DOWN '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.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Real Estate

    Land plus anything on it, including buildings and natural resources.
  2. Marginal Land

    Arid and generally unhospitable land. Marginal land usually has ...
  3. Littoral Land

    Land that is located next to a pooled body of water. Littoral ...
  4. Like-Kind Property

    Any two assets or properties that are considered to be the same ...
  5. Land

    Property or real estate, not including buildings or equipment, ...
  6. Construction Loan

    A short-term loan used to finance the building of a home or another ...
Related Articles
  1. Home & Auto

    Top 8 House-Hunting Mistakes

    These common mistakes occur when you allow your emotions to take over.
  2. Home & Auto

    An Introduction To Buying A Condominium

    This real estate investment provides unique advantages - and challenges.
  3. Options & Futures

    Tips For Renting A Vacation House

    Follow these nine steps to get a picture-perfect summer shack at a great price.
  4. Taxes

    Vacation Home Or Income-Producing Investment?

    There is an alternative to letting your cottage sit empty all year, but turning a profit won't be easy.
  5. Home & Auto

    4 Areas to Consider Roofing Material Types

    Roofing your home is very important, that’s why you should choose a roof specifically designed to handle your area’s climate.
  6. Home & Auto

    Looking To Invest In Home Improvements?

    Some home improvement projects could cost you more to complete than they’ll pay out in equity. So, here we show you the worst projects to avoid.
  7. Personal Finance

    Low-Cost Ideas For Urban Gardening

    Because urban gardening is a growing trend to create lots of greenery in your home, we give you these low-cost ideas without requiring a plot of land.
  8. Professionals

    How Martha Stewart Built a Media Empire

    A look into how Martha Stewart took her home-based catering business and turned it into a billion dollar media empire.
  9. Personal Finance

    Affordable Ways For Upgrading Your Home

    Upgrading your home doesn’t have to be an expensive chore. Here we give you 8 affordable ways to increase its appeal.
  10. Home & Auto

    Cost Breakdown Of A Bathroom Remodeling Project

    When figuring out the size of your budget for your bathroom remodeling project, consider whether you'll hire a pro, and the type of purchases you'll make.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What are the best ways to pay off my mortgage quickly?

    There are two main strategies for paying off a mortgage more quickly, which can be used alone or in tandem: making larger ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What are the pros and cons of a simple-interest mortgage?

    The basic disadvantage of a simple interest mortgage lies in the fact that unless the borrower conscientiously makes all ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Is a waiver of subrogation clause better for a tenant or a landlord?

    A waiver of subrogation clause is good for both a tenant and a landlord. A waiver of subrogation is a two-way agreement in ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Is the high cost of installing solar panels justified by the money saved by going ...

    In favorable locations and under suitable conditions, homeowners can recuperate the cost of installing solar panels. The ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. If my home runs power off the grid, what is the specific environmental impact?

    Running a solar-powered home with energy that is natural or off the grid has several environmental benefits. By using solar ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is the key to finding your ideal mortgage?

    The key to finding your ideal mortgage is choosing the right lender. Select a lender who views lending as a collaborative ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Bubble Theory

    A school of thought that believes that the prices of assets can temporarily rise far above their true values and that these ...
  2. Stock Market Crash

    A rapid and often unanticipated drop in stock prices. A stock market crash can be the result of major catastrophic events, ...
  3. Financial Crisis

    A situation in which the value of financial institutions or assets drops rapidly. A financial crisis is often associated ...
  4. Election Period

    The period of time during which an investor who owns an extendable or retractable bond must indicate to the issuer whether ...
  5. Shanghai Stock Exchange

    The largest stock exchange in mainland China, the Shanghai Stock Exchange is a nonprofit organization run by the China Securities ...
  6. Dead Cat Bounce

    A temporary recovery from a prolonged decline or bear market, followed by the continuation of the downtrend. A dead cat bounce ...
Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!