Living on the Edge – Riparian Rights and Living by a Watercourse

So you live by a watercourse and are worried about flooding?  Well that’s not the only thing that you should be concerned about, albeit it’s probably a very important concern bearing in mind recent flooriparian-rights-imageding events and the impact upon property.

By living adjoining a watercourse though you may also have Riparian Rights to consider and these can, dependent upon the circumstances, provide both enjoyment and worry, in particular if expensive works are required to maintain and/or repair the watercourse or you could potentially contaminate it in some way, for instance sewage or oil spills for example.

So what are Riparian Rights?

Under the riparian principle, all landowners whose properties adjoin a body of water have the right to make reasonable use of it as it flows through or over their properties. If there is not enough water to satisfy all users, allotments are generally fixed in proportion to frontage on the water source. These rights cannot be sold or transferred other than with the adjoining land and only in reasonable quantities associated with that land. The water cannot be transferred out of the watershed without due consideration as to the rights of the downstream riparian landowners.

Riparian rights include such things as the right to access for swimming, boating and fishing; the right to wharf out to a point of navigability; the right to erect structures such as docks, piers, and boat lifts; the right to use the water for domestic purposes; the right to accretions caused by water level fluctuations; the right to exclusive use if the waterbody is non-navigable. Riparian rights also depend upon “reasonable use” as it relates to other riparian owners to ensure that the rights of one riparian owner are weighed fairly and equitably with the rights of adjacent riparian owners

We have attached a document, provided by UK Govt. to provide further information and clarification.  Simply click on the link below.