Questions about shared wells

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by cortree, Nov 17, 2004.

Shouls I share my well?

  1. No, don't bother.

  2. Yes, With an agreement.

  3. Give away my water and pump use, ya right.

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  1. cortree

    cortree Member

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    I just bought 5 acres and the propery next to me is running off my well. I knew about this before purchasing and asked about it. There is no record of any right to water for the neighboring property. The guy that developed my property owned both at one time and has since defaulted on both. He just moved out of the other place and it is now vacant.
    My questions are:
    Should I allow a new owner the use of my well?
    (Right now while no one is there I am thinking I will disconnect the other property)
    If so, what items should I put in a shared well agreement?
    This is hard water and I will be installing a softening system and don't want to condition water for others (atleast not without compensation) The pump house has a single feed line out - not easy to just fix it so my line gets softend.

    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. Wendy

    Wendy Well-Known Member

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    My opinion is no. Depending on who buys the other property, will the well keep up with 2 familes?? Who pays the electric to run the pump for the well?? My brother is sharing a well with my parents. It's all fine & good now, but I can see it causing problems later on when my parents are gone. As my brother has more kids, there will be a lot more water being pulled out. Just a future headache in my opinion. If you can unhook it with no problems, I would.
     

  3. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    .................Make sure you don't have any requirements to provide water in your deed . Second , I would just cut the water supply OFF and let the new buyers be responsible for their own water supply . You might even check into making an offer on the property if it is available at a price that would allow you to resell for a profit at a later date . Good luck with your decision , fordy... :)
     
  4. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    If you don't specifically have to share your well with the other property, I'd say turn that access off. The new owners can find their own water supply, pay for their own water softener, and pay the electricity on their own pump.
     
  5. BobBoyce

    BobBoyce Well-Known Member

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    I felt sorry for a close neighbor that lives on a hill with no spring water on his property. I allowed him to install a pump on my spring box, and even trenched a water line and electric 500' to his house.

    Everything worked well, but I ended up having to drain his line and tank when he would leave for the winter and forget to do it.

    Another problem was his kids and grandkids would show up and stay for holidays, and the kids would play in the water until they ran the spring box dry.

    I would have to wait for it to refill, and prime both pumps. I finally got tired of being the one to do everything water related, and told him he was going to have to start taking care of his own side of things.

    He had a well drilled, and I no longer have water problems. Now he's turned into the neighbor from ----, calls the county and complains about everything, ect. Good thing for me this area is AG and pretty much anything goes.

    Bob
     
  6. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    Cut the line cut your problems cut your losses.



    mikell
     
  7. 3girls

    3girls Well-Known Member

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    I'm with the idea of buying the property. Is there any way? Would he carry a 5-10 yr contract? There are a number of things you could do with it.

    Drill a well, maybe divide off some of the property to keep (is it large enough?), and sell the improved house.

    I just cannot imagine sharing something as important as a well with a stranger. Some people own their own water company and sell the water as in a utility. I haven't a clue as to how that works, but you could probably find the local regs.

    Best wishes,

    Sandi
     
  8. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    Personally I would almost (almost) sell my soul to be able to share a water well with one of my neighbors as we have no springs and recently drilled a 8 thousand dollar dry hole of a well! I think sharing a well (many have to do it in this area) would be okay IF you had a contract approved by a lawyer that would spell out what each and every one is supposed to do and not do. You would also have to limit the use of the well to the present owners of the property- to be rehashed if new folks move in. You may not want to share with the new folks and should not have to.
     
  9. jefferson

    jefferson fuzzball in the Cascades

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    disconnect before the property is even put up. Get a good lawyer to write a contract before ever letting anybody share water. More fights (guns too) have been over water rights than anything else. I mean what I say about a contract. I know folks who own the water, the well, the lines, and can't get a drop because someone else has the rights.
     
  10. Nevada

    Nevada Voice of Reason Supporter

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    In Nevada the owner of a property has the unquestioned (and unregulated) right for up to 1800 gal/day. That right has conditions, and one of them is that the water may only go to one residence, even if the second residence is on the same property. There would be fees and regulations for the connection to a second residence.
     
  11. Bob_W_in_NM

    Bob_W_in_NM Well-Known Member

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    A lot of the legalities would depend on what state you are in as water law varies widely, even farther afield that "riparian or appropriative".

    In New Mexico, a standard domestic well permit stipulates "one household".

    I know of an instance where a fellow was trying to be a nice guy and let his neighbor "tap in" to his well/water system.

    Years later, the fellow that owned the well sold the place contingent on getting the neighbor off his well. (The new owner didn't want anything to do with that arrangement.)

    Turns out that the neighbor had "adverse possesed" himself into some water rights. The guy that owned the well had to have a well drilled at his expense on the neighbors property (fully equipped, of course), in order to "uncloud" the title to his property so it could be sold.
     
  12. cortree

    cortree Member

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    He has already been forclosed on, first on the 5 acres I purchased now on the adjoining 5 acres. Too small to divide any futher in our area of Oregon.
     
  13. Cygnet

    Cygnet Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In my area, shared wells are very common. The water table can be 1,000 feet or more down, and tends to be both thermal and highly mineralized, so it honestly works out better to share the maintenance costs with several households -- the county allows for up to 24 people on one well, divided however that works out between houses. Generally, everyone pays a fixed maintenance fee + a per-gallon fee into an account for maintenance. Our goal is to have about $4,000 in teh account for maintenance costs.

    Have a good contract that spells out everything you can think of, and have a lawyer familiar with well shares look at it if you decide to share the well. Make sure the contract spells out that water can be *shut off* if someone isn't paying their fees -- if it says they have to PAY fees but doesn't provide for a shutoff if fees aren't paid, you may be SOL if someone quits paying. I know of an issue where a jerk bought into a wellshare and told the other well association members that he wasn't paying no fees -- they shut his water off, he sued, they had to provide him water. They were told to countersue for the money owed on dues, did, court determined he owes it, but he's still refusing to pay it, and they can't shut him off because the contract doesn't provide for it.

    Cygnet
     
  14. cortree

    cortree Member

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    I notified the nieghbor after he had moved out that I would be disconecting the water. now he is sueing me for intefering with it :haha:
    1. it was never shut off
    2. his lawyer is telling me I have too turn it on and pay him for not being able to rent it. :no:
    3. the property is a hole and was never in rentable condition had I shut the water off or not.
    4. he doesn't have any money yet he seams to be able to keep paying his lawyer.

    Damn lawyers want $150-175hr. Don't see I have much of a choice now but to get my own attorney :(

    If I fight him we could each end up pay as much as a well would cost.
    If the guy was half way reasonable I would consider an agreement with an upfront reserve amout. This guy is so crooked and dishonest I want nothing to do with him.
     
  15. desdawg

    desdawg Well-Known Member

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    In Arizona once you start providing water to a property you are obligated by an antiquated law to do so for 100 years. Shared wells are pretty common here, 5 homes to a well without becoming a water company with mandatory periodic testing, etc. However FHA financing cannot be obtained if there are over 4 homes on a well. I am not on a shared well, I have my own. I imagine there would be problems with someone not carrying their load sooner or later. Then someone has to become the "water police". If you have the option of going it alone I would say make that your first choice. If it becomes an issue down the road then move on to the other alternatives. Just my opinion.
     
  16. BobK

    BobK Well-Known Member

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    If there are not water rights to the well deeded to the property agreement for your purchase I would first shut it off completely and don't even deal with another user or second make sure the language in the agreement made it so expensive for the outside user that he would not develop it. This could be done by requiring a new udnergroudn service to the well with a metered system installed to monitor each parcels use. I can understand others willingness to share a well in waterless areas if this is not a problem in your area dump him first chance you get.

    Been there done that ...it really can get bad!!
     
  17. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    If you have no agreement with him let him sue. In the process you may be able to get a deposit and maintance fee to keep the water running. 50 % of the cost of a new well on deposit and 50$ per month sounds fair if your backed into a corner.

    mikell
     
  18. crashy

    crashy chickaholic goddess

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    I would keep it to yourself. It may make the new nighbors mad but hey they will just have to understand. I know in some areas if there is a community well you have to floridate and add other chemicals I dont recall which ones tho. You bought the land that had the well its yours. But I would have a lawyer go over your papers and make sure you can have it. May cost a few bucks but may also save your backside :)
     
  19. desdawg

    desdawg Well-Known Member

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    I would think that if you had a legal obligation to keep providing water it would have showed up on your Title Insurance committment and/or policy. If it wasn't on there then there is no recorded record and you should be off the hook. Any mineral rights issues, water right issues, easements, right of ways etc. that are legally recorded will appear in the title work. If they don't then you have recourse with the title company you used.
     
  20. inc

    inc Well-Known Member

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    "it was never shut off
    2. his lawyer is telling me I have too turn it on and pay him for not being able to rent it."

    typical

    "If you have no agreement with him let him sue" i guess you could cave in, but you know that the lawyer is going to do the (above) just to try to bowl you over. your job now is to find out whether or not you legally have to supply water, and also, how much $$ will it cost to defend yourself as opposed to caving in.

    "I would think that if you had a legal obligation to keep providing water it would have showed up on your Title Insurance committment and/or policy "

    unknown. i have found stuff in deeds that was legally binding even tho it didnt even APPEAR on the current deed(one wrote up for you). these legally binding agreements can be 'restrictive covenants' and are similar to the agreements you sign in your contract when you move into a condo or neighborhood with such agreements(no clotheslines, lawn is maintained, set backs, etc). the several res covenants in this case were one line sentences(no asphalt plant will be build on the property) scattered in previous versions of deeds that were drawn up when the ancestor property was split into smaller and smaller parcels. here in this state apparently that stuff still applies to the split up parcels too, tho it wasnt challenged in court, so i dont know.
    you need to find out a 'family tree' of the history of your parcel- what larger parcel it was part of before, and all the agreements made in previous deeds relating to your parcel. there may also be agreements between your parcel and a neighboring parcel( your neighbor's , or the ANCESTOR of his parcel) that the well be shared.
    go to land records and look it up- they will have all the history of your land and what it was previous. then go over to deed office and look up the original deeds of all parcels and copy them. read them at home they are long.also- res covenants are usually referenced in the index at the deed office- called GRANTOR or GRANTEE index. its helpful to look it up here, then find the actual paper in the deed book. agreements between neighbors are kept in the deed books as well as the deeds.i would do as much of this yourself as you can, because it takes sooooo long to do it and a lawyer cost big $$. i found a right of way (that i knew existed, just didnt have referece to it) and handed it off to be incorporated into a current deed, as a sentence reference to a ancestor deed, and im sure it savesd a big lawyer bill in the future....(bet that lawyer thought- dang it!)

    cant you send a request (dont know what this is called) to the other side or to the court saying- "show me?' show me where it is required by law that i continue to share this well. i have carried this burden long enough.