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 jurisdictions, 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]

See also


  1. "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. doi:10.2110/jsr.2007.089.
  5. "Watercourse | FEMA.gov". www.fema.gov. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
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