Fourth in a series on water boundaries.
A frequent theme in water boundary cases is the attempt to reconcile lateral boundaries of fee title or riparian rights with the centerline of a river or channel. The following cases, which range from the simple to the complex, show how courts will vary the normal rules of setting lateral boundaries in order to accommodate the need to reach some channel or harbor line. The cases could be viewed as variants of the principles of apportioning submerged land along irregular shorelines, which I discussed earlier in this series.
McKain v. Central Nebraska Public Power & Irrigation Dist., 295 N.W. 386 (Neb. 1940). In this, the least complex of the group, a party claimed ownership of a portion of the bed of the Platte River at the intersection of two tributaries. The facts are best understood with the help of the court's diagram (below):