Applications for Water Boundary Changes (Land that is Dried Stream Bed or was added by Accretion)

This page includes information and resources to prepare an application for land that is dried stream/river bed or was added by accretion/erosion.

A property may be considered to be a parcel of land or a ‘lot’.  Simply put, the parcel boundaries can be defined mathematically (by survey) or with natural features, for example by the edge of a stream or river.

When the parcel boundary is a non-tidal water body, at common law, certain rights attach to that ‘water boundary’.

For example, if the water boundary moves gradually and imperceptibly away from the parcel of land, so that new land is added to the parcel of land, the owner of that parcel has common law rights of ownership over the new land.  These rights are described under the doctrine of accretion and erosion.

In another example, if a non-navigable stream (adjoining a parcel of land) moved suddenly so that the stream course dries up, the owner of the adjoining parcel of land has common law rights over ownership over half of the dry stream bed.  These rights rely on the common law presumption known as usque ad medium filum acquae.

In both examples, the landowner may apply to the Registrar-General of Land (RGL) for a title for the additional land:

Application for accretion or erosion

An application for a water boundary change due to accretion or erosion must meet the requirements of the Boundary Changes - Accretion and Dry Beds (Rivers and Streams) Standard 2018 – LINZS20013.

The Accretion and Erosion Guideline 2018 – LINZG20783 has been developed to assist with the preparation and processing of these applications.

This is an application to ‘update’ or ‘correct’ the existing title (section 21 Land Transfer Act 2017 (LTA) and regulation 17 Land Transfer Regulations 2018) to record the water boundary change due to accretion or erosion.

Application for dry stream bed 

An application for dry stream bed must meet the requirements of the Boundary Changes - Accretion and Dry Beds (Rivers and Streams) Standard 2018 – LINZS20013.

The Application to bring land under the Act – Dry Riverbeds and Streambeds Guideline 2018 – LINZG20782 has been developed to assist with the preparation and processing of applications to bring former dry river or stream beds under the LTA.

This is an application to bring land under the Land Transfer Act 2017 (section 172 LTA). The process is set out in sections 171- 183 LTA. 

Making an application 

Application for accretion 

The instrument code for an application for accretion is ACC.

The application may be lodged by e-dealing (image only instrument requiring certifications, A&I required).

Application for dry river bed 

The instrument code for an application for dry river bed is AP17.

The application may be lodged by e-dealing (image only, requiring certifications, A&I required).

Notices and advertising

If an application and the supporting evidence establish:

(a) an accretion claim at face value,
(b) a case for bringing land under the Land Transfer Act,

then the application must be notified by the RGL.

Details of who is notified and how are set out in the Guidelines (link above).

Last Updated: 5 December 2018