Paris, TN asked in Environmental, Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Tennessee

Q: I have a creek on my property, approximately 3-5ft deep, and I want to dig out a watering hole for livestock. Can I ?

I am currently in the process of fencing in an area that encloses a section of the creek on my property. The creek has a wide location where a secondary stream once ran around a dune, but now it's back down to the one main creek bed. I want to dig out the dune area, and open this naturally widened area of the creek into a watering hole for my livestock. I would like to know what laws I should be aware of in my state of Tennessee for altering waterways in any way?

1 Lawyer Answer
Anthony M. Avery
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  • Real Estate Law Lawyer
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: Your downstream Landowners are the ones that might give you problems. If your pond stops the water flow of the creek beyond your property, then the adjoining Landowners may possibly sue you for Damages, an Injunction, Declaratory Judgment, etc. It may even be a benefit to the downstream Landowners by lessening erosion. Unless it is a navigable water, you should have no problem. But TCA 69-1-110 allows suit for damages for diverting a stream, without navigability being required. Common sense is important here, and if what you do starts harming those downstream, you may wish to try to rectify the situation.

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