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#102063 - 08/09/07 12:54 AM Joining water wells???
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
A question came up today about wells that I've never heard of, and I don't like the sound of it.

There is a five-acre property that has been divided (not recently) into three single-home properties (all mobile homes).

My friend's Property A has a good well, pump and pressure. Property B has an older well and 30-yr-old industrial(?) pump, rather poor water pressure. Property C's well/pump only produces water in wet winters; he has a buried garden hose running to Property B as the only source of water -- for nearly ten years. (B & C are both owned by the same family.)

The suggestion has come up that all three homes join their wells together.

I have heard of communal wells, but never joining multiple wells together. Without more info, it sounds to me like it would/could create more problems than it would solve.

The owners of B and C prefer to spend their money on anything but home maintenance, hence the jury-rigged water system of C. I am of the opinion that B and C want to join wells with A just so they won't have to deal with their own well problems, now (C) or in the future (B).

So, does anyone know of any reason to join well pump systems?

Is it even legal?

Do any of you have any firm reasons why this should NOT be done?

My friend is leaning away from the idea, but would like to have more concrete arguments than her current "it just doesn't sound like a good idea to me".

Any info is very welcome.


#102066 - 08/09/07 01:36 AM Re: Joining water wells??? [Re: Susan]
GarlyDog Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 776
Loc: The People's Republic of IL
My three neighbors have a shared well and pump. The loser is the person with the well on their property.

They all purchased their homes with the arrangement already in place from the previous owners and the original builder.

The arrangement was especially problematic and expensive for the person with the well on their property. They got stuck with all the expenses and then had to collect from everyone else when repairs had to be made. One neighbor refused to pay for their share of major repairs that benefitted them. Attorneys are involved. It is still a mess.

Whoever has the well on their property will also be using more electricity to move the water to your neighbors house. There needs to be some kind of an agreement in place to cover these incremental costs, which will add up over time.

The person with the well on their property also gets the call from their neighbor at 2AM when the water stops flowing.

I would not recommend this type of an arrangement.

Best of luck



#102067 - 08/09/07 01:37 AM Re: Joining water wells??? [Re: GarlyDog]
GarlyDog Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 776
Loc: The People's Republic of IL
BTW, your I believe your assessment of B & C's motives are spot-on.

#102070 - 08/09/07 02:02 AM Re: Joining water wells??? [Re: Susan]
frostbite Offline

Registered: 07/22/07
Posts: 148
Loc: TN
If the B and C properties are owned by the same family it stands to reason they could connect to B's old well and use a cistern/holding tank system to improve water pressure. As these are all mobile homes I don't see the need for large amounts of water (i lived in camper/trailer etc a good part of my life). If freezing occurs or somethings springs a leak and causes damage who would be liable for the damage? Who would be responsible for maintenance? If A is providing the power to the pump how would B and C reimburse A? Is A's pump up to providing water to all 3, and if it was found out after the fact who would have to pay for an upgrade?

It sounds like they could solve their own problems with a little effort and expense but are only to happy to get someone else to shoulder the burden.

#102071 - 08/09/07 02:15 AM Re: Joining water wells??? [Re: Susan]
big_al Offline

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 586
Loc: 20mi east of San Diego

Pumping water for 3 homes instead of just one, the well may not last due to the heavy use. And when "A's" well runs low then what?
If it was I no way.

Some people try to turn back their odometers.
Not me, I want people to know "why" I look this way
I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved

#102072 - 08/09/07 02:37 AM Re: Joining water wells??? [Re: big_al]
JohnnyUpton Offline

Registered: 05/03/07
Posts: 60
Loc: USA
The only reason the other two wish to do this is to save the expense of drilling new wells.

If I owned lot A, I wouldn't allow the others to tap the line without some sort of payment. If all 3 families are attempting use water from the well at the same time, there will be a noticeable pressure drop.

#102079 - 08/09/07 04:00 AM Re: Joining water wells??? [Re: Susan]
SwampDonkey Offline

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 1268
Loc: Northeastern Ontario, Canada
I owned a country property years ago and had a lot for trouble finding water and keeping the water drinkable (beavers kept flooding the well).

I ended up using a well on a unopened Municipal road allowance between the 2 lots I owned and it was a problem because I did not actually own the land the well was on.

When I went to the Bank to get a mortgage I had to prove both, that I had legal access to the well and that the water was drinkable. This involved an easesment from the local Municipality (they owned the Road Allowance), fixing the beaver problem and water testing by the local Health Unit. It was the same hassle when I sold the property as I had to prove to the buyer that the residence had a reliable, safe supply of water.

In your case if I was Property Owner A, I would politely tell the two other property owners that they needed to drill wells on their own land.

My .02 cents.


#102080 - 08/09/07 04:03 AM Re: Joining water wells??? [Re: Susan]
xbanker Offline

Registered: 04/21/05
Posts: 484
Loc: Anthem, AZ USA
You don't mention whether or not your friend has a mortgage on Property A. If so, the lender would object because, in lender-lingo, a three-way split of Property A's well/water rights would "impair" the lender's collateral.

From a property-value perspective, your friend's property would decrease in value once a community-well arrangement was consummated. Conversely, B & C would increase in value thanks to the agreement.

Were I your friend, I wouldn't entertain B & C's proposal under any circumstances. Owners B & C bring nothing to the table, yet have everything to gain. OTOH, your friend gains nothing, yet gives up something of considerable value.

B & C have demonstrated that they have neither the money nor the willingness to maintain their already-existing wells. Think we can predict how they'd handle the shared responsibility of maintaining your friend's well and paying for their monthly water usage.

The money it would cost B & C to: 1) pay your friend a lump sum up front to compensate for lost property-value; 2) pay all attorney fees for having a lawyer (who specializes in such matters) research applicable laws and draw up a proper agreement; and, 3) pay the cost of materials/labor ... would probably cover the expense of bringing their existing wells up to speed.

In summary, bad idea!

"Things that have never happened before happen all the time." — Scott Sagan, The Limits of Safety

#102084 - 08/09/07 07:47 AM Re: Joining water wells??? [Re: xbanker]
marantz Offline

Registered: 03/03/03
Posts: 40
A relative of mine had a similar sounding situation a few years ago. She had land up in the mountains, and her neighbors, while personally nice enough, were always wanting to borrow from her, power, water, firewood, etc. She finally had to put her foot down, and tell them to improve their own places as she had done, and not continually try to leech off her.

I think xbanker has it exactly right, letting B and C connect to property A's water would reduce your friend's property value. The owners of properties B and C have had plenty of time to remedy things by drilling deeper on C, better pump for B, etc. They just want to literally leech off your friend. I would also beware of any temporary arrangement, as continued long enough, B and C might find a lawyer that would claim your friend had granted them a permanent water claim or easement. I've seen similar things tried to gain title to a shared driveway. In both of the above cases, the ultimate solution was to sell and move. I hope your friend doesn't have to do the same.

#102089 - 08/09/07 10:33 AM Re: Joining water wells??? [Re: marantz]
xbanker Offline

Registered: 04/21/05
Posts: 484
Loc: Anthem, AZ USA
Originally Posted By: marantz
I would also beware of any temporary arrangement, as continued long enough, B and C might find a lawyer that would claim your friend had granted them a permanent water claim or easement.

Marantz makes an excellent point ... "implied easement by prior use" and "easement by necessity" might be claimed, legitimate or not ... once people gain even a temporary foothold, they're often reluctant to relinquish without a fight.
"Things that have never happened before happen all the time." — Scott Sagan, The Limits of Safety

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