Littoral Rights

Littoral Rights Vs Riparian Rights

Do you own property that is close to a water body?

Then you need to know about littoral rights.

“Littoral rights are the rights given to the owner of a property sharing boundaries with large or non flowing water bodies. Some of these water bodies include ponds, lakes, seas and oceans. Most of the time, these rights give the owners of nearby property some benefits of the shore.”

So to what extent of the shore can property owners mark their territory?

They own everything till the high median watermark.

This is the limit of the water body during high tide. But they can use the sea or ocean all they want.

As for those who live adjacent to ponds and lakes, they have rights to the land underwater up to the middle of the water body.

Now to the differences between littoral and riparian water rights.

Littoral Rights Vs Riparian Rights

a. Littoral water rights are given to owners of property that share boundaries with non flowing water bodies while Riparian water rights are right accrued the owner of property adjacent to flowing water bodies such as streams and rivers.

b. Owners with littoral water rights can claim dominion of the shore up to the median high water mark while those with riparian water rights can have licenses to use water from rivers and streams for domestic and commercial uses.

c. Littoral rights are often affected by tides while the same can’t be said for riparian rights.

If you are about to buy a waterfront property, it is important that you check to see that your property stretches to the median high water mark or bank of the river or stream.

This will help you avoid any unpleasant surprises in the future.

Make sure you conduct your own survey and seek advice from your attorney.

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