Get our newsletters

Online talk to cover water rights and boundaries


Joseph Grabas presents “Owning the River: Water Rights and Boundaries,” an online lecture, at 7 p.m. Dec. 1.

The talk, one in a series, open to the public and free of charge, is sponsored by the nonprofit Delaware River Greenway Partnership.

The ability to own land in fee without obligation to feudal lords and kings was one of the driving forces behind the settlement and development of the original 13 Colonies.

In 1609, the Wild West started at the New Jersey shoreline. To escape the tenancies and servitudes of the Old World, Europeans came to American shores for the promise of land and self-determination.

It was this desire that stoked the fires of settlement in the Delaware Valley in the 17th and 18th centuries. The land on either side of the Delaware River and Bay was prized for its fertile soil, temperate climate, and system of waterways which charted the original highways into this relative wilderness.

Those waterways created natural boundaries among the land. Control and ownership of those waterways were as important as the land itself. Water for consumption, irrigation, power, travel, and sustenance was key to success in the new world.

Grabas, a professional educator and a forensic title expert, will discuss water rights and boundaries along the Delaware River Valley, beginning with the earliest deeds through to the most recent conflicts (New Jersey v. Delaware, 552 U.S. 597 (2008)) and the inherent right of the sovereign to control lands now or formerly flowed by the tide.

Free preregistration is at