riparian rights

Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary

Rights of the owner of land adjacent to a river or stream to use the water for certain purposes. State laws vary on the extent of the rights given riparian landowners.A riparian landowner may not, however, interfere with the rights of other riparian landlowners farther downstream -- which means no damming or diversion of a stream.

Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.