If my property has been using a neighbor’s spring for water for nothing) for the last 90 years, what are the rights to that spring water?

UPDATED: Nov 4, 2012

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If my property has been using a neighbor’s spring for water for nothing) for the last 90 years, what are the rights to that spring water?

I own 2 acres and the spring is on my neighbor’s property, in a creek that flows through both our properties. My neighbor says “there is no way in hell” I have rights to that spring water (I am considering selling, and that is the only water that has ever been used for my land). We are both just residential owners. My property has used the spring water for 90 years. Their property was gifted to them by the previous owners of my property, in 1965. They have a well on their property for their water and no use for the spring.

Asked on November 4, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you have been using this water for the past five (5) years and your predecessor's in interest to your property have done so for years before under claim of right then there is a very good chance that a claim for a "prescriptive" easement for the use of the spring water has arisen over time allowing for the continued use of the spring water in the future assuming there is no recorded easement as to it.

Assuming the water literally flows through your property you have the right to use it no matter what under the laws of all states in this country. I suggest that you may want to discuss this matter further with a local real estate attorney.

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