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Water rights and the extent of use of a water right are regulated at the state, regional and local levels. Water rights are different than rights in real property in that typically the government of the state holds all the waters of the state in trust for the people of the state. A water right only establishes a use right, not fee ownership of the body of the water.
In a “Practice Note” piece published by LexisNexis, Best Best & Krieger LLP Managing Partner Eric Garner and attorney Maya Mouawad discuss general water rights, water rights associated with real estate, and acquiring and transferring water rights. They also cover special considerations for water rights in California, given the state’s complex water law system. The authors note that it is “critically important to take a holistic approach when analyzing water rights, looking at state and local regulations where the real estate is located as well as where the water use is applied.”
The article can be accessed in its entirety here.

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