In rural areas of Utah and Wyoming, shared water wells are common. Sharing a private groundwater system among two or more homeowners is a cost-effective approach, as it means sharing the costs of maintenance and repair.
However, buying a home with a shared water well can present some challenges. Before you commit to a purchase, make sure you have all the bases covered by taking these four steps.
No. 1: Inspect the Water Well
During your due diligence period, contact a local well services company and schedule a thorough inspection.
An expert well contractor can research the construction details for the shared groundwater system to determine if it is located in a safe location, far from any potential sources of pollution. A professional can also review the maintenance records and perform quality testing to ensure that the home has a safe supply of drinking water.
No. 2: Check Well Capacity
If you need to qualify for federal mortgage insurance when you buy a house, you’ll need to make sure that the groundwater well system that supplies the home meets minimum flow standards.
To determine the capacity, ask a local well services contractor to conduct a pump/flow test. At a minimum, a shared groundwater well needs to be capable of delivering three gallons per minute to each home. A lower yield is only acceptable if the system includes pressurized storage of at least 720 gallons per household.
No. 3: Review the Deeds
If the shared water well passes the professional inspection and has adequate capacity, the next step before buying a home is to review the property deeds of everyone involved. For this, you may want to consult with a lawyer.
The property deeds must contain easements permitting all the homeowners access to the groundwater system. In addition, the documents must specifically allow each of the parties to use and maintain the well.
No. 4: Get a Shared Well Agreement
Homeowners that share a groundwater well system usually have a shared well agreement. If no legal agreement is in place, get one.
A shared well agreement should specify cost sharing for powering, maintaining and repairing the groundwater system. In addition, the document should limit water use to domestic purposes. If one homeowner waters the lawn or fills a swimming pool, everyone’s household supply could be affected.
For other tips on what your agreement should contain, speak to a qualified legal professional.
If you’re thinking about buying a home with a shared water well, the licensed Z-Team contractors at Mike Zimmerman Well Service LLC can conduct a thorough inspection and perform the necessary testing to ensure water quality and sufficient well yield.
With over 30 years of experience of drilling, maintaining and repairing groundwater wells throughout Utah and Wyoming, Mike Zimmerman Well Service has the skill and knowledge to help you make a smart decision on whether or not to invest in an Intermountain West home with a shared groundwater system.
Would you like expert advice from the Z-team contractors? Contact our Salt Lake City office and schedule a free consultation with one of our water well experts today.