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.
Source: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).
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).