You cannot understand water rights until you understand that government is an artificial abstraction, a graven image that grants rights only to those who worship it. All water rights belong to the government, who may allocate water for the good of their public.
Chief Seattle asked in 1851:
“How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them from us?”
How then, did all this water get into the communist collective?
American water rights exist only because you worship a graven image*. This image was “delegated” powers that its creators did not have. You acquiesced. Acquiescence is estopple.
Throughout the history of Judeo-Christian cultures, political water rights were considered evil, ever since God Himself, in Ezekiel 29:3, insisted that governments do not have water rights. The Magna Carta acknowledges our right to require government to dismantle fish traps on rivers. And, in America, water rights were resisted up until 1925.
Judeo-Christian-Muslim history has a fascinating link with water rights. The origin of some oaths and swearing in court evolved from Abraham’s swearing a financial bond (seven sheep), in Genesis 21 to king Abimelech that he would deal fairly. Abraham did not need a government permit to dig his well. For more information, see my book on Oaths.
Water rights are an abstraction of logic. You just don’t understand that you owe allegiance to a third level of abstraction away from anything real. All States are corporations1; and we still call them “artificial entities”. The Supreme Court recognized that corporations are mere creatures of the mind, such that they have special powers that were not delegated2 by their creators (constituents).
Therefore Water rights are enforceable contracts of artificial entities that have the authority to bind everyone to the obligations they invent3.
Another reason that you cannot own your water is because you do not own your land. The U.S. Constitution requires gold and silver coin to be our only lawful money. You cannot buy land with a promise to pay dollars of Federal Reserve Notes. Federal Reserve Notes are debt notes. You cannot pay a debt with another debt. Your debt is not discharged until you pay with dollars of gold or silver coin. 4
A Federal Court in 1925 finally ruled, in Northside Canal Co. v. State Board of Equalization, 8 F.2d 739:
A water “right is a wholly intangible thing, a mere creature of the mind, which exists only in contemplation of law. It is not a right or claim to land; neither is it the possession or ownership of land. It cannot be comprehended within the meaning of mines, minerals, quarries, or timber belonging to private owners… It must be necessity, therefore, for the purposes of taxation, be personal property belonging to this [municipal] corporation…”
Chief Seattle somehow just could not understand that all water had been sacrificed to your graven images. What part don’t you understand?
U.S. Supreme Court in State Tax Commission of Utah v. Aldrich, 316 U.S. 174, at page 187:
Today’s new rule emphasizes the dominance of the corporation, a creature of the legal imagination. [Foot Note 2]…”
[Foot Note 2] “A corporation is defined by John Marshall as “An artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of law.’ [Quoting The U.S. Supreme Court in Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward]
The New York Court of Appeals has said: ‘A corporation, however, is a mere conception of the legislative mind, it exists only on paper through the command of the Legislature that its mental conception shall be clothed with power.’ People v. Knapp 206 NY 373, 381, 99 NE 841, 844”
- 1793 US Supreme Court in Chisholm v. Georgia, 2 US 419 at pages 447-448
- 447: “…a State can only be considered as a subordinate corporation…, not only each State singly, but even the United States may without impropriety be termed ‘ corporations.’
- 448: “It owes its existence, its name, and its laws, (except such laws as are necessarily incident to all corporations merely as such) to the authority which create it.”
2. In the history of America, water rights evolved from the 1852 US Supreme Court decision in Rundle v. The Delaware And Raritan Canal Company, 55 U.S. 80, which recognized over objections, that corporations have special powers: “[at page 98] a corporation, being not a natural person, but a mere creature of the mind, invisible and intangible, …  cannot commit felony or other crime, neither can it be arrested or committed to prison…”
3. 1795 US Supreme Court in Penhallow v. Doane, 3 US 55 at page 94: “representatives shall be chosen to act on the part of the whole. But when they do so, they decide for the whole, and not for themselves only.”
4. One month after FDR confiscated our gold (lawful money) in 1933, the 73rd Congress published Senate Document 43, entitled Contracts Payable in Gold:
The ultimate ownership of all property is in the State; individual so-called “ownership” is only by virtue of Government, i.e. law, amounting to mere user; and use must be in accordance with law, and subordinate to the necessities of the State. The fact that citizens, at a given time, may prefer specie to currency, or vice versa, can not prevent Congress from enacting those laws which it deems necessary to the maintenance of a proper monetary system.”
Don’t be fooled into thinking a legal owner has any rights to the land.
Perhaps you were defrauded into what lawyers called “the worst of all systems”.
If you want to find out if your legal ownership carries no rights to the property, try not paying the annual rent.