LITTORAL RIGHTS: Definition & All You Need To Know

LITTORAL RIGHTS: Definition & All You Need To Know
LITTORAL RIGHTS: Definition & All You Need To Know

Littoral rights are rights granted to the property owner on the border of the share of large or non-flowing water bodies.  Some of these bodies of water include ponds, lakes, seas and oceans.  In most cases, these rights give the owners of adjacent property certain advantages of the shore.

What Are Water Rights?

Water rights may dictate the use of surface or groundwater from a particular source.  Although it depends on state water laws, surface waters such as lakes, streams, and coastal waters are state-owned and therefore available to the public only during a drought crisis. 

Groundwater is water that comes from an underground aquifer.  Most water rights doctrine restricts water users from “reasonable use” of a water source, which means that they cannot deplete a water source or prevent other people from accessing it.

What Is Littoral Rights?

Coastal rights belong to landowners whose land borders large navigable lakes and oceans.  Landowners with coastal rights have unrestricted access to water, but own land only up to the average high water mark. 

After that, the land is owned by the state.  Water rights are additional, ie they are attached to the land, not to the owner.  In other words, if oceanfront real estate is sold, the new owner gets coastal rights; in exchange, the seller waives his rights.

How Do Littoral Water Rights Work?

Littoral water rights are granted to owners of property that shares common boundaries with non-flowing water bodies, while coastal water rights are granted to the owner of property adjacent to flowing water bodies, such as streams and rivers.

Holders with coastal water rights can claim dominance over the shore up to the high water average, while those with coastal water rights may have licenses to use water from rivers and streams for domestic and commercial use.

What Is Littoral Rights Real Estate?

Littoral Rights Real Estate is rights used in real estate to describe land ownership / property rights adjacent to a combined body of water.  As a rule, coastal rights are water rights, although water rights are not related to property rights, water rights refer to rights to lakes, seas, oceans and other bodies of water. 

In the real estate sector, coastal rights are granted to owners of land and property adjacent to a combined body of water, while coastal rights are assigned to owners of land and property located near moving water, such as a river or stream.

Littoral rights give landowners the right to use water in a way that does not threaten property owners upstream or downstream.  This right gives landowners unrestricted access to water bodies around their property.

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Who is a littoral owner?

A coastal owner is the owner of land adjacent to a body of water, such as the sea, ocean, or lake.  Coastal land is located near the shore, it is also land whose boundaries are on the ocean, sea or lake.  Some people prefer to buy land of this nature, especially those who like to live near a pond. 

Real estate developers and business owners are often interested in this type of land, they can build a hotel, promenade or tourist facility on the land.  Coastal land is otherwise called property on the shores of the ocean or lake.  As a rule, coastal lands are more expensive than ordinary plots of land, given their proximity to water.

Littoral Rights Vs Riparian Rights

Littoral Rights Vs Riparian Rights relate to rights related to the right of ownership of land partially covered by or adjacent to a body of water.  These rights are not easy to define and can be considered interchangeable for property insurance purposes. 

These may include entry, exit, boating, fishing and swimming, among others.  These are the rights to use the adjacent reservoir.  The extent of the rights of landowners, neighboring coastal landowners, and the general population to use a connected water body varies from state to state and within individual states, depending on the nature of the water body.

 Difference Between Littoral Rights Vs Riparian Rights

Littoral rights are granted to owners whose property is located along the banks of a river or stream.  They can use the pond and the shore, but it should be clear that this activity does not create an alarming situation for people living downstream or upstream. 

The water here is considered non-navigable.  The land is owned by the owners up to the center of the waterway.

 Coastal rights allow the property owner to use the water according to their restrictions, but the land is only accessible to a medium high water sign.  In addition, the land comes under the jurisdiction of the government. 

Water rights are also assigned to the reservoir.  In this case, if the beach property is sold, the coastal rights pass to the new owner, and the former owner waives his rights.

What Is Littoral Water Rights?

Littoral water rights apply to objects adjacent to the ocean, sea, or lake, not a river or stream.  Coastal rights usually concern the use and use of the coast.

Generally speaking, if a body of water is navigable, like a lake or a river, the state tends to have a channel below the usual low water level, provided the federal government has the right to regulate water as a trade channel. 

Under federal law, water is navigable if it can be used in its natural state as a highway for trade.  For example, if you have a house on the shores of Lake Superior, you do not own part of Lake Superior because it is navigable.

 If the water is not navigable, for example, a small lake or pond, the adjacent landowners may own a waterway based on the centerline of the channel or relevant documents.  Of course, if it is really small and completely on your land, for example, on a small pond, you probably own it all. 

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What Are The Types Of Water Rights?

1)     Littoral Rights 

Littoral rights are rights and obligations that are accompanied by ownership of land adjacent to a body of water.  This includes land adjacent to the seashore or ocean and thus exposed to tidal currents. 

Landowners with coastal rights have unrestricted access to water, but own land only up to the average high water mark.  After that, the land is owned by the state.  Water rights are necessary.  This means that they are attached to the ground, not to the owner.  In other words, if real estate on the ocean is sold, the new owner gets coastal rights.  Conversely, the seller waives his rights.

2)     Riparian water rights

Riparian water right states that landowners are legally allowed to use a watercourse that touches their land.  This is a form of surface water rights, which usually relate to water in the reservoir.  Property owners can use their water for domestic purposes as long as it does not impede the natural flow of water to other coastal owners.

3)     Non-riparian water rights

Non-coastal water rights refer to the landowner’s non-exclusive access to water adjacent to his property.  In cities, towns or municipalities where access to the waterfront is restricted, this may be common, as the exclusive use of water can severely restrict access to water for others.  A landowner is considered non-coastal if he owns community access to a body of water or a public pier.

4)     Prior appropriation

The doctrine of pre-appropriation dictates that only those who have a permit can drain water from a particular water source.  In case of water shortage, priority access to water is given to the owner of the oldest permit. 

In some states, appropriation of water rights means that permit holders can sell their water rights separately from the land.  However, unlike coastal rights, rights holders may eventually lose access due to non-use.

5)     Hybrid water rights

 Hybrid water rights refer to a combination of coastal rights and pre-appropriation rights.  This doctrine is commonly followed in water-scarce states such as California, Oklahoma and Texas.

6)     Correlative rights

Correlative rights in some states also fall under the doctrine of correlative rights, which states that landowners who share a common source of water are limited to a reasonable proportion of water, not as much as they want.

7)     Community water rights

 Community rights to water allow users who live closest to the water source to use water as a priority over their owners.

8)     Navigable servitude

Navigable easement refers to the ability of the federal government to protect navigable waterways for trade, such as cargo ships.  The rights may also apply to those who own luxury boats or other types of recreational craft.

LITTORAL RIGHTS FAQs

              

What Are The Two Main Types Of Water Rights?

 The two main types of water rights that are respected in the United States are Littoral rights, which relate to the property owner’s right to use water that touches the boundaries of their property, and pre-appropriation rights, in which the state grants a party the right to use certain waters.

What is navigable water?

Under federal law, water is navigable if it can be used in its natural state as a highway for trade.  For example, if you have a house on the shores of Lake Superior, you do not own part of Lake Superior because it is navigable.

CONCLUSSION

This may come as a shock to some people, but just because water is on your land does not necessarily mean that you own it or even have the right to use it. The right to use this water may belong to other people. Water rights are a broad legal term that refers to a group of different rights regarding the possession and use of water, which may be on land or underground.

REFERENCES

https://thedataadvocate.com/riparian-rights-vs-littoral-rights/

https://thebusinessprofessor.com/en_US/property-law/littoral-land-definition

https://study.com/academy/lesson/water-rights-definition-types.html

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