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WATER-COURSE Definition & Legal Meaning

Definition & Citations:

A natural stream of water fed from permanent or periodical naturalsources aud usually flowing in a particular direction in a defined channel, having abed and banks or sides, and usually discharging Itself Into some other stream or bodyof water. Los Angeles v. Pomeroy, 124 Cal. 597, 57 Pac. 587; Chamberlain v. Hemingway,63 Conn. 1, 27 Atl. 239, 38 Am. St. Rep. 330; Ribordy v. Murray, 177 111. 134,52 N. E. 325; Rait v. Furrow, 74 Kan. 101, 85 Pac. 934, 6 L. R. A. (N. S.) 157 ; Dickinsonv. Worcester, 7 Allen (Mass.) 19; Earl v. De Hart, 12 N. J. Eq. 284, 72 Am. Dec.395; Barkley v. Wilcox, 86 N. Y. 140. 40 Am. Rep. 519; Simmons v. Winters, 21 Or. 35,27 Pac. 7, 28 Am. St. Rep. 727.There must be a stream usually flowing in a particular direction, though it need notflow continually. It may sometimes be dry. It must flow in a definite channel, having abed, sides, or banks, and usually discharge itself into some other stream or body ofwater. It must be something more than a mere surface drainage over the entire face ofa tract of land, occasioned by unusual freshets or other extraordinary causes. It doesnot include the water flowing in the hollows or ravines in land, which is the meresurface-water from rain or melting snow, and is discharged through them from a higherto a lower level, but which at other times are destitute of water. Such hollows orravines are not. in legal contemplation, water-courses. Hoyt v. Hudson. 27 Wis. 656. 9Am. Rep. 473; San- guinetti v. Pock. 136 Cal. 460. 09 Pac. 98. 89 Am. St. Rep. 109;Luther v. Winnisimmet Co., 9 Cush. (Mass.) 171 ; Pyle v. Richards, 17 Neb. 180. 22 N.W. 370.But if the topography of the surrounding country is such that water accumulates ingreat quantities after heavy rains or at the season of melting snows, and descendsperiodically through a well-defined channel which the force of the water has made foritself, and which is the accustomed channel through which it flows and has alwaysflowed, such channel is to be deemed a natural water-course. Kellv v. Dunning, 39 N..T. Eq. 482; Earl v. De Hart, 12 N. J. Eq. 280. 72 Am. Dec. 395; Simmons v. Winters, 21Or. 35. 27 Pac. 7, 28 Am. St. Rep. 727.


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