What rights do you have as an owner of property bordering a water source in terms of use, access or consumption? What happens when the body of water is altered due to flooding or drought. A quick dive into Riparian Rights. πŸŠβ€β™€οΈ

If you’ve ever bought a piece of property near a body of water, you’ve probably heard of riparian rights. Riparian rights are private water rights for the use of access or consumption that are tied to land ownership bordering ponds, lakes, streams, or rivers. Riparian water is limited to the watershed of the source from which the water is taken and it’s critical that the property actually touches the body of water.

Something to note, coastal waters are excluded from riparian rights. What’s called littoral rights pertain to coastal waters such as oceans, seas, and deltas.

Riparian rights are not lost by non-use and the owner reserves the right to access or use the water whenever he or she deems necessary. Now, what happens if the body of water is altered due to a flood or a drought, for example. What’s called rites of accretion will be applied, which simply means the riparian rights now extend to the new water line. And, in the case of a drought, there will be newly exposed land. The owner will actually gain legal title by rights of accretion.

If you’re interested in more information on this topic, I highly recommend you check out the Texas Water Code section 11.134.

Feel free to reach out to us with questions or other topics you’d like to see covered.

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