How to Make a Shared Well Agreement

I. VERIFY the WELL INFORMATION

The first step in creating a Shared Well Agreement is verify that the information is correct. Otherwise, making a new well share agreement with bad information is like trying to make a gourmet meal using rotten food. It can create more problems than it helps.

  1. Verify Well Ownership Information with the ADWR

Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) requires that all property owners register and update the ownership information each time there is a change to ownership.

Recording of a deed with the county recorder, transferring title of the real estate does not notify ADWR that the well ownership has been transferred. Therefore, the new water well owner must take steps to register the well in their name.

Verify the APN Numbers

Counties assign APN numbers to parcels for tax purposes and each parcel has a unique number assigned to it by the county. But what happens to a parcel number with the property is split?

  • Well share agreements are often inaccurate and outdated. Land parcels have changed. For example, the lot has been divided.
  • A new homeowner has begun using the well, with permission, but the well share agreement was never modified naming the new homeowner.
  • The property was sold but never updated with the new homeowner’s information.
  • A new home will be built, and the agreement is not modified naming the new owners.

II. CUSTOMIZING THE SHARED WELL AGREEMENT

Every situation is different, every property is different.

  • What about swimming pools;
  • What about electricity meters;
  • What about water meters;
  • What about establishing a bank account to save money;
  • What if someone doesn’t pay;
  • Should a property owner without a home on her property be required to pay for maintenance even when they are not drawing water;
  • Buy-in for ‘later comers’? Drilling a new well can cost upwards of $40,000, so is it fair that someone builds a house and begins using the well without contributing to the cost of its construction.

The list could go on and on.

UPDATING OWNERSHIP WITH THE SHARED WELL AGREEMENT

A well share agreement protects people. Each person is obligating themselves to abide by the agreement. For instance, they are committing to pay for all repairs, maintenance, upkeep, and electricity. When an agreement is signed, that person is obligated to abide by the promises made in the agreement. However, if a new homeowner does not sign an amended agreement, then they have not obligated themselves to the terms of the agreement.

AMENDMENTS PROVIDE AN OPPORTUNITY TO CORRECT ERRORS

I’m continually amazed at the inaccuracies found in many well share agreements. I’ve seen some where the well share number was incorrect, the legal descriptions were incorrect, and so were <<insert>>.

III. AFTER THE SHARED WELL AGREEMENT IS COMPLETE

RECORD THE AGREEMENT WITH THE COUNTY

Once the Shared Well Agreement is completed and signed by all parties it must be recorded with the county recorder.

REGISTERING YOUR WELL WITH THE ADWR

In Arizona, private well owners are left strictly on their own to manage and protect their water well. There are no standards for the performance of private or shared water wells during the sale and transfer of the real estate upon which the well is constructed.

Even though the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) does not get involved in Shared Well Agreements it is still a best practice to record the agreements with them. They will put it in the permanent file for the well and so it can always be referenced. However, well share agreements are completely unregulated and not required by Arizona law.

Contact water law attorney Clint Dunaway at 480-702-1608 or by email at Clint@DunawayLG.com. * The information provided is informational only, does not constitute legal advice, and will not create an attorney-client or attorney-prospective client relationship. The Dunaway Law Group, PLC limits its practice to the State of Arizona.

Author: Clint Dunaway

Arizona attorney.