Legal definition: An interest in land owned by another person (or entity), consisting of the right to use or control the land, or an area above or below it, for a specified, limited purpose (such as to cross it for access to a public road).
An easement conveys a possessory (control of property without ownership) interest in real property to private parties or public agencies. The recipient of a grant of easement is typically referred to as a grantee. The interest granted entitles the grantee to a specific use or possession of land. Easements are usually, but not always, appurtenant to the land involved (“run with” the title to the land served by the easement) rather than being the personal property of an individual.
Easements - Permanent. Includes definition above. A permanent easement is one that is acquired for an indefinite period or into perpetuity. These rights are treated just like acquired lands and are considered non-wasting assets. Depreciation is not taken for these rights.
Easements - Temporary. Includes definition above. A temporary easement is one that is acquired for a specific period of time, not an indefinite period of time. Accounting direction requires that temporary easements be depreciated or amortized. Temporary easements are only considered a land cost when included in the original acquisition contract.
Rights-of-Way. Rights-of-way refers to land or any interest in land acquired for the purpose of public or private rights-of-use and/or passage (including persons, vehicles, and heavy equipment) and erecting, laying, placing, and maintaining drains, ditches, pipes, and transmission lines or wires for the conveyance, transmission, or transportation of water and electric power or for any other purpose necessary for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the project or undertaking. These are usually referred to as easements in Reclamation.