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Old 10-01-2015, 01:53 PM
 
Location: North Idaho
2,215 posts, read 2,175,862 times
Reputation: 2689

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Quote:
Originally Posted by macmeal View Post
As a long-time operator in the Public Water field in California, I BELIEVE what you're describing is illegal here. I see it as you 'providing' water...(in essence, 'selling' groundwater) which, in California, must be done by a public agency (Water District, etc).
Fortunately, many things that California has made illegal are perfectly legal in many other states. Given our current water woes, I'd be hesitant to hold California up as an example of a state that has pursued wise water use regulations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeman View Post
I'm looking to buy a home in the country that has a shared well. The well would be on my property, but there is a shared well agreement with 4 other properties (1 property has a house, the rest are vacant land plots).
The agreement stipulates that each part-owner pays 1/5th of all costs-elec.pump bill, repairs, maintenance. Here's the problem. The current owner doesn't charge the vacant land owners anything! He and the other house owner just split the bill. I guess because the (vacant) land-owners use little to no water--however there is the cost of the electric pump use every month. Would I look like a jerk if I stood by the agreement and had everyone pay their 1/5th fair share?
It would be nice to have the well to myself of course (**selfish bastard that I am**), but someone brought up a good point: if the well malfunctions, breaks, needs repair, there are 5 parties that have to pay to fix or re-drill, not just me.
I know NOTHING about wells, having come from the city. There is also a giant water storage tank on the property I'm buying that holds the water. Is that the usual way with wells? That you have a big storage tank? Does the agreement usually extend to the tank too?
Would love to hear from anyone who shares a well, or knows something about this. Thanks.
To me it would not be an absolute disqualifier, but it certainly isn't ideal. You haven't mentioned whether there is a legally binding agreement between these 5 property owers. I'd be very hesitant if there was not, because then it really becomes voluntary in terms if who pays up.

On the other hand, I also suppose if there is no legally binding agreement and you liked the property enough then you could always have your own well drilled and cease using the common well. The only downside there is it sounds like the well and most of the infrastructure is on your property.

If there is an agreement I'd read it carefully, perhaps have it reviewed by an attorney. Well repairs can be quite expensive when the occur, so if I was involved with something like this I think I'd want to see each property owner contribute to a maintenance fund each year so that when a major repair is needed the group has some funds on hand.

As far as electricity use and the vacant parcels not paying, the electicity use is directly proportional to water use. I can understand their position that if they are using no water since their properties are undeveloped they shouldn't pay for the routine operating costs. However, if a repair is needed they should definitely pay their share of those expenses.

Dave
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Old 10-01-2015, 02:09 PM
 
Location: Sugarmill Woods , FL
6,235 posts, read 6,113,793 times
Reputation: 13654
Bad idea! Nothing but bad legal results in the future as time and ownership changes.
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Old 10-02-2015, 12:00 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
23,476 posts, read 41,064,757 times
Reputation: 25045
Old thread, I am now up to 9 properties on shared wells, (~3 homes / well) nary a problem in last 30 yrs (only ONCE...argh, was resolved and NEVER repeated (I appended the agreement))

I have very robust well agreements. (registered / deeded / assigned easements / access)

They are all class B systems with appropriate controls / regulation.

I find it very handy to share the maint expense of a shared well.

It takes about 3 hrs every 2 yrs to keep the general stuff up to date. I usually get 15+ yrs between pump pulls (usually to replace wiring). These are all 400' range, so not CHEAP to add your own. They have plenty of capacity and I have learned a lot about adding trouble free systems. (I have a lot of issues with flowing sand aquifers on some wells, so... extra effort / equipment / maint required)/ Tough to find a driller with a cable rig, but that previously worked fine for setting screens and pulling the casing up to expose 10ft of the new $1000/ ft woven SS screen. (Shared well helps to split this cost burden)
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Old 10-02-2015, 09:06 AM
 
24,841 posts, read 32,879,712 times
Reputation: 11471
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redraven View Post
Many years ago, we rented with option to buy a place with a shared well. We were advised that neither VA nor FHA would approve a loan on a place with a shared well.
Perhaps that has changed, I don't know. We have our own well, and I would not have it any other way.
It is true the lenders do not like shared wells.
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Old 10-02-2015, 09:11 AM
 
24,841 posts, read 32,879,712 times
Reputation: 11471
Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
Old thread, I am now up to 9 properties on shared wells, (~3 homes / well) nary a problem in last 30 yrs (only ONCE...argh, was resolved and NEVER repeated (I appended the agreement))

I have very robust well agreements. (registered / deeded / assigned easements / access)

They are all class B systems with appropriate controls / regulation.

I find it very handy to share the maint expense of a shared well.

It takes about 3 hrs every 2 yrs to keep the general stuff up to date. I usually get 15+ yrs between pump pulls (usually to replace wiring). These are all 400' range, so not CHEAP to add your own. They have plenty of capacity and I have learned a lot about adding trouble free systems. (I have a lot of issues with flowing sand aquifers on some wells, so... extra effort / equipment / maint required)/ Tough to find a driller with a cable rig, but that previously worked fine for setting screens and pulling the casing up to expose 10ft of the new $1000/ ft woven SS screen. (Shared well helps to split this cost burden)
I am in the drilling business and do not know anyone with a cable tool rig.

Now, the few drillers that will change screens use their pump hoist.

BTW, SS screens cerate their own problems.

We use PVC.
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Old 10-02-2015, 10:47 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
23,476 posts, read 41,064,757 times
Reputation: 25045
Quote:
Originally Posted by Driller1 View Post
It is true the lenders do not like shared wells.
every one of my shared well props have loans, (all but one is a commercial loan, much more stringent underwriting.)

YMMV (I'm not in the drilling business)
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Old 10-03-2015, 02:23 AM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,467 posts, read 23,961,102 times
Reputation: 36374
I had one property I had to put a well in. Before the well driller could come, the next door neighbor let me run a hose from his well. Then, his property was sold to someone else, who cut off my water supply. Total jerk. So, I had to buy a tank and a trailer to haul water to my property until the well-driller could come.

I would never want to deal with anyone else EVER over any issues regarding my water. Ever again.

Sure, maybe it works for some, but the guy you deal with today may sell their property and well rights over to some jerk tomorrow.

Personally, I'd never put myself in any situation ever again where I had to rely on a neighbor for any of my utilities or anything else. Never. Ever. Ever. Again.
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Old 10-03-2015, 10:04 AM
 
230 posts, read 297,498 times
Reputation: 455
I can't think of any circumstance in which I would consider having anything to do with a shared well. Water is essential to life. Wars have been fought over it. Individuals have been killed over it. Fortunes have been lost over it. Entire communities have been destroyed over it. It is not something that can be treated in a cavalier fashion.

You must have full control of your own water source. Even if you are the owner of a shared well, the others will have some rights over it. If those rights collide, it will at a minimum get very expensive.

The only acceptable shared water resource is municipal water or a strictly regulated community water system. Even the latter provides too many risks for my taste. When I lived on a property served by a community water system, I judged the risk (and water pressure) to be unacceptable and had a well drilled.

Shortly after I sold and moved off that property, the community water system collapsed. Last I heard, the remaining owners without their own wells were desperately trying to get them drilled, and the local well driller was shopping yachts (slight exaggeration)
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Old 10-03-2015, 08:21 PM
 
24,841 posts, read 32,879,712 times
Reputation: 11471
Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
every one of my shared well props have loans, (all but one is a commercial loan, much more stringent underwriting.)

YMMV (I'm not in the drilling business)
A good share of our repair work is billed to the home owner's house insurance.

How would you decide which home's insurance pays????
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Old 10-05-2015, 11:37 AM
 
24,841 posts, read 32,879,712 times
Reputation: 11471
I just got a call from a business that shared a water well with another business.

The business with the well as foreclosed on by a bank.

Over the weekend the bank had a company winterize the building.

Now there is a business with no water until we can get the well drilled and hooked up.

It could be a month before they have water.............since it is a business.........we have to wait for the health department.
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