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Shared Well Problems

Discussion in 'Easements & Right of Way Law' started by gzmw, Nov 23, 2015.

  1. gzmw

    gzmw Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hi everyone,
    My wife and I purchased our home one year ago. At the time we were aware that the house had a shared water well with the house next door. When the sale was happening the well water failed for high nitrates, and the sellers were required to install a treatment system, which they did. At that point the house was cleared to close, and we did.
    Fast forward to this past summer. I had planted some grass seed, and I used the sprinkler to water the area. After about 30 minutes the next door neighbor came outside to inform me that he ran out of water, and that we can't use sprinklers because the well can't support it. He is the original of the house, and he stated that the well has never been able to support a sprinkler in his over 50 years of ownership.
    The above noted incident prompted me to investigate the well issue a bit further. First of all the well is 100% on my neighbors property. After looking over our deed and title policy, there is NOTHING mentioned about the well. So at this point I assume that I really don't have the right to the water?
    The biggest reason why I am concerned is that my neighbors house is far sale. I get along with him very well, but who knows what the new people will be like. His house is large (over 3,000 sq ft), and I fear that a big family may move in...laundry and showers!! The new owners may also not like the fact that they must share something that is on their own property.

    So......
    1. Can the neighbor legally cut off my water supply?
    2. Do I have any legal recourse?
    3. Did my lawyer make a mistake in not "catching" this?
    4. Were the sellers required to provide a legal source of water?
    5. Is there any action that I can pursue against the sellers?
    6. Do I have any other options besides drilling my own well, which will run in excess of $10,000?

    Thank you,
    G
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    It would appear that drilling your own well is your only legitimate option.

    I suggest you ask the lawyer who represented you during the purchase about other options.
     
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    As a practical matter you could potentially spend multiples of $10,000 on litigation if the stuff eventually hits the fan and still end up drilling your own well.

    And there's always a chance, when you eventually go to sell your property, that potential buyers will be smart enough to figure out that the well is not on the property.

    Something you could have easily figured out for yourself.

    You might as well just bite the bullet and put in your own well. Avoid the cost of litigation and likely enhance the value you your property.
     
  4. Disabled Vet

    Disabled Vet Active Member

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    Wow..... This could turn into a bigger issue. It's not as easy as one may think. I have seen wells driven 100 yrds from another one. But that well provided 0 water.. 2 more locations were driven.... still 0 water was found. End result was the home owner putting in a holding system. Water was delivered to the home. So this issue is one I would find out quickly what your rights are. The home owner with the well can make a legal stand for you. Sellling the house with the understanding that your HOME will have rights to the well. But.... this should have been done when you purchased the home. That is where the answers to your questions are.... Where in your paperwork does it show " Shared Well " then what paperwork from the "WELL Owner" giving your home the right to share his water..... If NONE of this is in writing.... I would be talking with the Well Owner about getting this in WRITING quickly before the Well home sells.
     
  5. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Good point.

    OP can also check recorded document history on both properties to see if something like that had been recorded in the past.
     
  6. gzmw

    gzmw Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Update....
    I had my lawyer look into this mess, and he was able to provide some relief!
    I assume that he had the title insurance company do the leg work. He provided me with a copy of the original deed from 1959 when the original homeowners purchased the house from the developer. It is clearly noted in that deed that in fact we do have a right to the water. It even lists our block and lot number and his block and lot number. And according to the deed the well may actually be right on the property line. The 1959 deed further states that the water rights will remain with the property in perpetuity.
    The weird thing is that the paragraph that spells out the water rights did not carry over to subsequent deeds for the subsequent owners. Another lawyer that I spoke to said that usually a paragraph like that does not carry over.
    It is just nice to know that I have a legal right to my water. My wife and I may drill our own well at some point, but for now we are happy that even a new owner can't cut off our supply.



    Zack
     
  7. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    You mean not without consequences. There are laws that say people can't commit murder yet it's done every day.
     

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