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riparian rights

n. the right of the owner of the land forming the bank of a river or stream to use water from the waterway on the land, such as for drinking water or irrigation. State laws vary as to the extent of the rights, but controversy exists as to the extent of riparian rights for diversion of water to sell to others, for industrial purposes, to mine the land under the water for gravel or minerals or for docks and marinas. Consistent in these questions is that a riparian owner may not act to deny riparian rights to the owner of downstream properties along the waterway, meaning the water may not be dammed and channelled away from its natural course.


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