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 Under the absolute dominion rule a property owner may use his land as he pleases for all lawful purposes but the owner may not interrupt or interfere with a watercourse benefitting another's land, whether that watercourse is above ground or below ground. A property owner could dig a well or make other excavations and not be subject to a claim for damages even though the effect of the excavation was to cut off and divert water which percolates through the ground or hidden veins to feed the neighbor's well or spring. A watercourse is a course of water flowing in a particular direction by a regular channel having a bed with banks and sides and usually discharging itself into some other body or stream of water. Although it must have a well-defined and substantial existence, a watercourse need not flow continuously or never be dry.


The absolute dominion rule is based on the premise that groundwater is the absolute property of the owner of the land, just like the rocks and soil that compose it. See ROGER A. CUNNINGHAM, ET AL., THE LAW OF PROPERTY § 7.5 (1984). In Chase v. Silverstone, 62 Me. 175, 183-84 ...

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