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If I own a piece of land near the river, how much of the land would I actually own? Do I just own the land up to the water's edge, do I own the water, or what?


According to John Peck, a KU professor who specializes in Kansas water law, it depends on whether the river is one of the three declared navigable at the onset of statehood: the Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas.

If it is, the state owns the riverbed, an area that is not limited to where the shoreline happens to be on a given day.

If the river is not considered navigable, you probably own to the middle of the river.

If the river is actually a stream that passes through your property, you probably own both sides of it.

The key word here is "probably" because much is going to depend on the legal description of the land. But generally speaking, ownership along a non-navigable river extends to the middle of the waterway; along a navigable river, the riverbed belongs to the state.

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