Diffused Surface Water

  • Ronald W. Tank


Diffused surface waters are those waters on the surface of the ground that are of a vagrant character and follow no definite course. They are often referred to as runoff or sheet wash. They fail to establish an identity as a discrete body of water and are lost through evaporation, by percolation into the soil, or by flowing into an established watercourse. When diffused surface waters become part of a natural watercourse they lose their character as surface waters and come under the rules governing watercourses; when they percolate into the soil they come under the rules governing percolating ground water. Flood water that spills over the banks of a watercourse and flows in a diffused manner over the flood plain is viewed in some states as diffused water and in other states as fugitive water from a watercourse.


Public Trust Social Utility Trial Judge Navigable Water Common Enemy 
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References and Suggested Reading

  1. Dolson, W. (1966), Diffused surface water and riparian rights: Legal Doctrines in conflict, Wisconsin L. Rev., 1966 (1): 58–120.Google Scholar
  2. Kinyon, S., and McClure, R. (1940) Interference with surface waters, Minnesota L. Rev., 24: 891–939.Google Scholar
  3. Sattinger, O. (1975), Waters, American Jurisprudence, 2d, Lawyer’s Co-operative Publishing Co., Rochester, N.Y., Vol. 78, Part V, SS 117–145, p. 561–593.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald W. Tank
    • 1
  1. 1.Lawrence UniversityAppletonUSA

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