Nebraska Revised Statute 31-224
Watercourses, drains, or ditches; annual removal of rubbish by landowners or tenants; exceptions.
It shall be the duty of landowners in this state, or tenants of such landowners when in possession, owning or occupying lands through which a watercourse, slough, drainage ditch or drainage course lies, runs or has its course, to clean such watercourse, slough, drainage ditch or drainage course at least once a year, between March 1 and April 15, of all rubbish, weeds or other substance blocking or otherwise obstructing the flow of the water in such watercourse, slough, drainage ditch or drainage course, whenever such obstruction is caused by any of the acts of said owner or tenant, or with his knowledge or consent; Provided, however, this and sections 31-225 and 31-226 shall not apply to drainage ditches under control of any drainage company or corporation.
- Laws 1911, c. 143, § 1, p. 474;
- R.S.1913, § 1794;
- C.S.1922, § 1741;
- C.S.1929, § 31-324;
- R.S.1943, § 31-224.
Owner of adjoining lands is required to maintain river in course to which diverted by authorized nonnegligent construction and is not entitled to recover for negligent maintenance. Idlewild Farm Co. v. Elkhorn River Drainage District, 116 Neb. 300, 216 N.W. 817 (1927).
In this section, the phrase "at least" prior to "once a year" indicates that a landowner may have a duty to clear the ditch more than once during the specified period of March 1 to April 15, if the flow of water again becomes obstructed during this period. Barthel v. Liermann, 21 Neb. App. 730, 842 N.W.2d 624 (2014).
There is nothing in this section that can be interpreted to require a landowner to clean a drainage ditch outside the March 1 to April 15 period if the flow of water becomes obstructed at any other time during the year. Barthel v. Liermann, 21 Neb. App. 730, 842 N.W.2d 624 (2014).
This section imposes a duty upon a landowner to clean a drainage ditch once a year, between March 1 and April 15. Barthel v. Liermann, 21 Neb. App. 730, 842 N.W.2d 624 (2014).
Landowners do not have to cause the obstruction in a waterway before this section requires them to clear it; the obstruction need only have occurred with their knowledge or consent. Landowners who were aware of weeds and cattle obstructing the ditch had a duty to clean the ditch out under this section despite the fact that they did not affirmatively obstruct the ditch. Barthel v. Liermann, 2 Neb. App. 347, 509 N.W.2d 660 (1993).