The Law Dictionary

Featuring Black’s Law Dictionary Free Online Legal Dictionary 2nd Ed.

What is WATER

As designating a commodity or a subject of ownership, this term has thesame meaning in law as in common speech ; but in another sense, and especially in theplural, it may designate a body of water, such as a river, a lake, or an ocean, or anaggregate of such bodies of water, as in the phrases “foreign waters,” “waters of theUnited States,” and the like.Water is neither land nor tenement nor susceptible of absolute ownership. It is amovable thins and must of necessity continue common by the law of nature. It admitsonly of a transient usufructuary property, and if it escapes for a moment the right to itis gone forever, the qualified owner having no legal power of reclamation. It is notcapable of being sued for by the name of “water,” nor by a calculation of its cubical orsuperficial measure; but the suit must be brought for the land which lies at the bottomcovered with water. As water is not land, neither is it a tenement, because it is not of apermanent nature, nor the subject of absolute property. It is not in any possible sensereal estate, and hence is not embraced in a covenant of general warranty. Mitchell v.Warner, 5 Conn. 518.

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