2017 Nebraska Revised Statutes
46-265 Embankments; maintenance; return of unused water; duties of owner.

Universal Citation: NE Code § 46-265 (2017)

46-265. Embankments; maintenance; return of unused water; duties of owner.

The owner or owners of any irrigation ditch or canal shall carefully maintain the embankments thereof so as to prevent waste therefrom, and shall return the unused water from such ditch or canal with as little waste thereof as possible to the stream from which such water was taken, or to the Missouri River.


  • Laws 1919, c. 190, tit. VII, art. V, div. 3, § 20, p. 854;
  • C.S.1922, § 8470;
  • C.S.1929, § 46-620;
  • R.S.1943, § 46-265.


  • Diversion of water from one watershed to another is permissible under sections 46-206 and 46-265, R.R.S.1943, so long as the stream from which it is diverted is more than one hundred feet wide and the diversion is not contrary to the public interest. Little Blue N.R.D. v. Lower Platte North N.R.D., 206 Neb. 535, 294 N.W.2d 598 (1980).

  • This section deals with the return to stream of unused water transported in irrigation ditches to prevent waste. Ainsworth Irr. Dist. v. Bejot, 170 Neb. 257, 102 N.W.2d 416 (1960).

  • Unused irrigation water must be returned to natural stream. Kuhlmann v. Platte Valley Irr. Dist., 166 Neb. 493, 89 N.W.2d 768 (1958).

  • This and other sections limit the location and construction of irrigation canals and ditches, as well as the land irrigated by same, to the basin containing the source of the water used, and require that all unused waters shall be returned to the stream from which diverted. Osterman v. Central Nebraska Public Power & Irr. Dist., 131 Neb. 356, 268 N.W. 334 (1936).

  • The right of an appropriator to recapture seepage waters is not impliedly denied by this section. United States v. Tilley, 124 F.2d 850 (8th Cir. 1941).

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