“[T]he term surface water means the water from rains, springs, or melting snows which lies or flows on the surface of the earth but does not form part of a well-defined body of water or a natural watercourse. It does not lose its character as surface water merely because some of it may be absorbed by or soaked into the the marshy or boggy ground where it collects.” Butler v. Bruno, 115 R.I. 265 (1975).
“From the facts here it is clear that we are not concerned with the rules which pertain to surface waters in the commonly accepted meaning of that term in adjudications of this type. That term as so used means water diffused over the surface of the ground and derived generally from falling rains or melting snow, and it continues to be such until it reaches well defined channels wherein it customarily flows at which time it becomes part of a stream. Once part of a stream, it does not again become surface water simply because if overflows the banks. Water which continues to flow in the same direction even though outside the banks, and which returns to the channel upon the subsidence of the flood is part of a running stream and it loses its character as such only when it spreads out over the open country, settles in lakes or pools, or finds some other outlet.” McKell v. Spanish Fork City, 6 Utah 2d 92 (1957).