water right


Definition of water right 

: a right to the use of water (as for irrigation) especially : riparian right

Examples of water right in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

That would include water rights, reservoirs, conveyance facilities like the California Aqueduct. ... Dale Kasler, sacbee, "This one issue could make splitting California into three states virtually impossible," 25 June 2018 Iran depends heavily on water from Afghan rivers, and the two countries have been negotiating over water rights for months. Pamela Constable, Washington Post, "Days after Taliban assault in western Afghanistan, allegations of an Iranian role," 6 June 2018 However, there were no legal water rights in the 1880s. Benjamin Oreskes, latimes.com, "Essential California: Zuckerberg's apology tour," 10 Apr. 2018 The agency, which serves San Francisco and many Bay Area suburbs, has largely been free of regulation because of privileged water rights at Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite. Kurtis Alexander, SFChronicle.com, "SF would face new limits under state water proposal," 6 July 2018 Water users who rely on the Boise River have been concerned about how flood-control efforts — releasing water downstream early in the year to avoid flooding along the river's heavily urban route — affect their water rights later on. Nate Poppino, idahostatesman, "Will lawmakers come back to Boise this summer? Here's what Gov. Otter says," 21 June 2018 In other countries, the status has been awarded to Kabuki theater in Japan, the manufacture of batik cloth in Indonesia and the pre-Inca tradition in Peru of specialized judges who determine water rights. Claire Mufson, BostonGlobe.com, "Bistros are the life of Paris, but are they UNESCO worthy?," 16 June 2018 According to reports from the Austin American-Statesman, the Lower Colorado River Authority — which manages the Colorado River and other utility resources — looked at purchasing the land and its water rights in 2012. Rye Druzin, San Antonio Express-News, "Would you like an aluminum smelter with that ranchland? That’ll be $250 million," 23 May 2018 Timing is also an issue The Bureau of Reclamation’s water right at Lucky Peak allows for irrigation from its stored water starting in March. Melissa Davlin And Seth Ogilvie, idahostatesman, "These reservoirs keep Boise from flooding. But irrigators don't like how they're run.," 4 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'water right.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of water right

1793, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

21 Sep 2018

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The first known use of water right was in 1793

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water right


Financial Definition of water right

What It Is

Water rights are the legal permissions to use water in a specific way.

How It Works

For example, let's assume that John buys a house on the famous Yellowstone River in Livingston, Montana. The house is on riverfront property. The county's water rights laws specify that his property is private up to the high-water mark of the river. The public is allowed to use the waterway itself, but they may not "camp out" on the bank. The local water laws also specify that John can use a reasonable amount of the river water to irrigate his crops, as long as he follows local regulations and ensures that no wastewater from his property enters the river.

There are different kinds of water rights. Riparian rights are rights to surface waters such as lakes, rivers, and streams. Littoral rights are rights to oceans or very large bodies of water. Water rights can also apply to groundwater.

Why It Matters

In general, water belongs to the public. Water rights are permission to use the water; they are not permission to own the water. Water rights do not necessarily give landowners permission to transport water away from the property.

From an investment perspective, water rights are very valuable. Land with water rights is more valuable than land without water rights.

Every state has its own laws regarding how water rights convey, are acquired, or are forfeited. However, most property owners can establish water rights through their continued actual use of the water (known as "use it or lose it").

Source: Investing Answers

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