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Boquillas Land and Cattle Co. v. Curtis, 213 U.S. 339 (1909)

Boquillas Land and Cattle Company v. Curtis

No. 133

Argued April 7, 1909

Decided April 19, 1909

213 U.S. 339


Under § 3198, Rev.Stat. of Arizona of 1887, the common law doctrine of riparian rights does not now obtain in that territory, and, as held by the supreme court of the territory, the doctrine of appropriation was recognized and to some extent in force prior to and since 1833 in the State of Sonora, now a part of that territory.

Page 213 U. S. 340

Confirmation of an estate doe not enlarge it, and where the original Mexican title did not carry riparian rights, the mere confirmation thereof by the United States doe not give such rights to the confirmee.

The Legislative Act of Arizona, Howell's Code of 1864, c. 61, § 7, adopting the common law of England was merely the adoption of a general system of law in place of the Spanish Mexican general system which was simultaneously repealed, and the regulation of and rights to water were by the same act made subject to the natural and physical condition of the territory and the necessities of its people, and this Court sustains the supreme court of the territory in its interpretations of the qualification imposed on the general adoption of the common law in respect to the use of water.

The right to use water is not confined under the customary law of Arizona to the riparian proprietors. Where the riparian proprietor is entitled under a general statute to have the damages to his land taken for withdrawal of water by appropriators assessed, the decree below will not be disturbed because no provision was made for compensation, it appearing in this case that the objection was technical, and the point was not discussed below.

89 P. 504 affirmed.

The facts are stated in the. opinion.

Page 213 U. S. 342

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