Q&As

Does the owner of a watercourse have the right to drain treated effluent into that watercourse and can they grant that right to others?

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Published on LexisPSL on 26/11/2018

The following Environment Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Does the owner of a watercourse have the right to drain treated effluent into that watercourse and can they grant that right to others?
  • Does the owner of a watercourse have a right to drain into that watercourse?
  • Environmental permits
  • Ability to transfer permits

Does the owner of a watercourse have the right to drain treated effluent into that watercourse and can they grant that right to others?

Does the owner of a watercourse have a right to drain into that watercourse?

An owner of land abutting on water is a ‘riparian owner’ (see Commentary: Rights of access of riparian owners: Halsbury’s Laws of England [128]). By a presumption of law and in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, the ownership of the bed of a non-tidal river or stream belongs in equal halves to the owners of the riparian land (see Commentary: Presumption of ownership: Halsbury’s Laws of England [121]).

Riparian law is a complex area. The following may assist you with your research.

Riparian owners have certain rights and obligations, including the right to water flow and flood protection. However, riparian owners also have common law duties to other riparian owners, the community and the environment. Such responsibilities include letting water flow through their land without any obstruction, pollution or diversion which would affect the rights of others. See: Riparian rights and obligations—overview and Practice Note: Riparian ownership—rights and responsibilities.

A riparian owner has the right to have the water go from their land without obstruction, and they are entitled to make certain uses of the water which comes to them while it is on their property. Conversely, a

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