Water rights are any mechanism through which a user can access water for a particular use without jeopardizing another users’ right. Water rights can be local or customary; meaning that a way through which users get access to their water and solve their allocation mechanism among themselves without necessarily having a written document to define volumes and time for abstraction. Water rights are however, mostly thought to be statutory where it refers to a blueprint document defining volumetric allocation of water and sometimes, period for that particular allocation and whom it is provided for.
Factsheet for RIPARWIN Project, DFID-KAR Project No. R8064, Soil-Water Management Research Group, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania, pp 4