Standard Shared Well Agreement
Writing a well-written shared well agreement will help your customers avoid common pitfalls and costly litigation. A shared well agreement is a contract for the drilling, maintenance and use of a well. As a contract, the basic provisions of the agreement must clearly identify the parties, the land, the well and the water distribution network, the maintenance obligations, the easements and the registered water rights, if any. The parties must be identified by their full legal name exactly as indicated on their deeds. The parcels, wells and easement sites covered by the agreement must be identified using valid legal descriptions and a diagram showing the location of the borehole and distribution system as exhibits. Failure to properly identify and specify the uses and maintenance obligations of the well in the Agreement may result in future misunderstandings and costly litigation. For rural homeowners, the benefits of a shared well can include reduced operating costs and access to plenty of clean, high-quality drinking water. If done right, lenders will grant mortgages on properties that share a well. It is important to have a strong agreement between all parties to ensure conflict-free operation and to establish legal responsibilities for each member budget. Each party should agree not to build anything that could cause contamination within 100 feet of the well. This could include:  See Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, www.deq.idaho.gov/water-quality/ground-water/private-wells.aspx (last visited June 13, 2017).
Koelker`s buyer was able to close its stake in its well, but this only happened through a default judgment. If the buyer had not done so, he might have been obliged to share his property with third parties. The easiest way to avoid the problem in Koelker is for the parties to register the agreement in the district clerk`s office of the county where the well is located. If the service connections are located outside of that county, the agreement must also be registered in the other county. As with any document that regulates the property interests that run with the land, changes must also be written and recorded.  If you are lucky enough to live in a rural community, you can get your water supply from a well shared with your neighbours. Easements are rights of use that are sometimes governed by separate easement agreements. All names, addresses, plot details and contact details of the parties must be included in the agreement. The details of the land should be noted as they appear in the deed for each of the properties in the agreement.
Once the agreement has identified the parties, characteristics and purpose of the agreement, it is necessary to indicate who is responsible for the costs of installation, operation and maintenance of the well. Water users should be jointly and severally liable for the authorised use and maintenance of wells. Taking the time to determine how the parties will share the costs of maintaining, repairing, retrofitting and replacing well equipment, including the timing of payment of these costs, can help avoid disputes between the parties and subsequent owners. A common well agreement governs the use, management and maintenance of a water supply shared by two or more households. If you get your water from the same well as your neighbor – not from the urban supply – you need an agreement to ensure that the responsibility for the supply is shared equitably. You may want to set a deadline for the agreement or leave it permanent. It is preferable for the parties to consider how the costs will be shared if the use of the well is expanded in the future. Even if a common well is only used for domestic purposes, an increase in the groundwater extracted may require a larger well or increased infrastructure. If one party wants to expand its use of the well and the other does not, this could lead to a conflict between them in terms of additional costs related to the expansion. A common restriction for domestic wells is a barrier to the use of water for swimming pools.
Other identifiable uses of large volumes should be expressly discouraged in the agreement, either by indicating the use or by measuring the amount of water used for each compound. This agreement is entered into when the property with a shared well is sold to a new owner. The process of signing the agreement will not take much time. They should also stipulate that Parties may not connect other water or waste systems to the common water supply without the written permission of the local health authority. Be sure to do a strict inspection of the well. Research the history of the well, including the date it was drilled, all maintenance records, and the results of all well tests performed. Visual inspection of the location of the well, distance from potential sources of pollution (especially in agricultural areas), soil type and underground conditions. If the well is not on your property, check that the owner in which it is located is not using land use practices that could harm the well or affect water quality. DoNotPay knows how difficult it can be to draft a contract or legal document, so we`re here to help you with all the information you need to draft a common well agreement. If you are considering buying a property with a shared well, it is important to begin your research by reviewing all registered agreements regarding drilling, especially the deeds of the owners involved.
It is important to ensure that the deeds contain the correct easements that allow access, use and maintenance of the water system. If there is no common agreement on water wells, have one created. A good deal should clearly define who pays who for regular expenses. The methods vary depending on the number of people who own the well and the form of the agreement. Some people feel comfortable paying a single well owner directly. Often, sophisticated agreements establish a trust fund with a local bank from which the named parties can withdraw funds. The designated party may transfer these funds to the other parties through regular settlements. However, splitting the bill can be difficult if some parties use more water than others. An agreement can mitigate this problem by requiring the installation of individual water and electricity meters for each water connection and charging them according to their actual use. Some well agreements can only operate with a fixed monthly fee, although provisions are needed to allow for a change in fees. Often, especially in more rural areas, it is not uncommon for several neighbors to share a single well and a single water supply system.
While this can be a convenient way to preserve your water, sharing a well and managing a common system requires care and cooperation between all parties involved. To avoid confusion, the parties should clearly state their purpose for a shared well agreement, which is usually the transfer of a property right in the water. The parties should determine whether their use will be continuous, periodic or seasonal. In addition, the provisions of the Agreement should specify whether the intended use is exclusively domestic or whether it includes agricultural or commercial uses. Clearly stating the purpose of the well contract can avoid problems between the current parties and all subsequent owners of land subject to the agreement. This agreement is a legal document between two parties regarding the supply of water to the well and the sharing of the cost of its supply. The supplying party shares the well water with the delivered part and all costs of repairing the supply system are shared between the parties. The agreement can be used in any U.S. state. With collaboration and shared responsibility, owning a home with a shared well can be beneficial.
If you want more information, HUD publishes guidelines for shared wells, and here at Skillings & Sons, we`re always happy to provide you with information whenever we can. If you have any questions about shared wells, do not hesitate to call us. If we don`t know the answer, we`ll direct you to someone who will! Shared well agreements with neighbors are complex and potentially chaotic relationships. However, in Humphries v. Becker, the parties entered into a well sharing agreement and did not properly identify the well.  The property was transferred to a buyer who, based on the seller`s submissions, believed that the well, which is subject to the shared well agreement, would be sufficient to provide water to the house and its irrigation system.  In reality, the well operating the irrigation system was located on a farmer`s adjacent property and was only used with his permission.  The farmer interrupted irrigation water consumption when a conflict arose between the buyer and the farmer. As a result, the buyer sued the seller for misrepresentation.  The fact that the original parties did not correctly identify the well in the shared well agreement resulted in the cost of costly litigation that could have been avoided. • Must meet a minimum flow rate of three gallons per minute. Lower efficiency is allowed if each apartment has a pressure storage of at least 720 gallons.
Performance must be proven by a certified pumping test There are some specific legal requirements for a common well agreement as well as some simple precautions you should take before buying a home with a shared well. The agreement should clarify that the parties are not allowed to supply water to other parties without written permission. .