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A watercourse is the channel that a flowing body of water follows.[1] In the UK, some aspects of criminal law such as The Rivers (Prevention of Pollution) Act 1951 specify that a watercourse includes those rivers which are dry for part of the year.[2]

In some juristictions owners of land over which the water flows may have rights to some or much of the water in a legal sense.[3] These include estuaries, rivers, streams, anabranches[4] and canals.[5] If it is navigable it is also a waterway.[1] A navigable waterway may be defined under federal law in the United States differently from other countries.[6]

See also


  1. 1 2 "Waterway Definition". Duhaime.org. Retrieved 2016-08-24.
  2. "Rivers (Prevention of Pollution)Act 1951". legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  3. "Legal Definition of Water Course". Lectlaw.com. Retrieved 2016-08-24.
  4. North, Colin P. "Recognition of the Sedimentary Architecture of Dryland Anabranching (Anastomosing) Rivers". Journal of Sedimentary Research. 77 (11): 925–938.
  5. "U.S. Department of Homeland Security".
  6. USACE, Civil Works Regulatory Program - CWA Guidance to Implement the U.S. Supreme Court Decision for the Rapanos and Carabell Cases
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