Waterfront Property and Wetlands

Rivers and Streams

Properties located on or having flowing waters run through them raise additional concerns. Downstream owners have the right to expect the continued uninterrupted flow of the waters past the subject property without unreasonable diminution or pollution. In the western part of the country, water rights are a highly specialized area of the law and the right to make use of the flowing waters on the property may be severed by agreement or forfeited by lack of use.


Upstream owners also have the right to the continued flowage of the waters, and the owner would in most cases be prevented from blocking off the flow of the water so as to dam up the river and stream and cause flooding on the neighboring property. The owner would, in most cases, be prevented from altering the course of the stream or river as that would impede the flow of waters and could cause injury to the adjoining neighbors.


The river may qualify as a navigable body of water and be subject to a navigational servitude, and the public may have rights to fish, navigate, or carry on commerce.