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

To deal with this, Chile’s water regulator is expected to place restrictions on new water rights in the Salar. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Lithium giants feud over competition, brine in Chile’s Atacama Desert," 21 Oct. 2018 Our ancestors were forced into boarding schools and to abide by strict laws on land, language, and water rights. Parvannah Lee, Teen Vogue, "I'm From the Navajo Nation and I Want to Help My Community Get Healthy Food," 22 Nov. 2018 Peter Hall, who grows apples and pears in Victoria, sold off some of his water rights but now sees the water market as harmful to Australian farming. Rob Taylor, WSJ, "Drought Tests Australia’s Model Water Market," 8 Nov. 2018 The document addresses how to prioritize and appeal water rights across 167,000 acres in the Treasure Valley, affecting farms, parks and homes, Otter's office said. Nate Poppino, idahostatesman, "Will lawmakers come back to Boise this summer? Here's what Gov. Otter says," 21 June 2018 Granham and Viers calculated that existing water rights — that is, the legal right to draw water from a source — accounted for eight times as much water as the San Joaquin could yield in an average year. Michael Hiltzik, latimes.com, "This zombie dam project underscores California's dilemma over water," 16 May 2018 Your vulnerability—just sitting in a chair—makes my eyes water right now. Harper's BAZAAR, "Julia Roberts and Oprah Get Real About Facing Fears, Living Dreams, and the Magic of Getting Older," 11 Oct. 2018 Two states split Lake Texoma's water rights—and its name—50/50. Ken Jennings, Condé Nast Traveler, "This Texas Lake Developed a Boat-Swallowing Whirlpool," 3 Sep. 2018 The co-chairs of the Natural Resources Interim Committee will write Gov. Butch Otter to ask for a special session on a bill meant to help resolve disagreements about how irrigators' water rights are affected by water used for flood control. Nate Poppino, idahostatesman, "Panel will ask Gov. Otter to order special session on Boise water case," 6 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

6 Feb 2019

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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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a shady place in a garden or forest

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