The benefits of an accurate and professionally written shared well agreement are endless. A well written (pun intended), well share agreement decreases the odds of disputes and give you peace of mind. It provides certain assurances that their interests will be protected.
Over the years I have spoken to literally hundreds of Arizonians with some type of dispute regarding a shared well. A common variable in this situation is a poorly written shared well agreement or none at all.
Every situation is different, every property is different, every well is different, and this is why we create custom agreements for each client. In addition to providing advice on the general issues we also provide advice on more nuanced issues. For instance;
- What about swimming pools? Will they be allowed?
- Must each property owner install an individual water flow meter to track their usage?
- Will a joint bank account be established to pay the well utilities and save for major repairs?
- Should vacant land-owners still pay for costs and repairs even when not drawing water from the well?
- What about someone who no longer wants to draw water from the well? Must they continue paying for repairs?
benefits to the well owner- “grantor”
A well share agreement gives the well owner an enforceable rights against the Grantees that they pay their portion of the maintenance, repairs, water and electricity. Grantors have an enforceable contract that requires the Grantees to pay their equal share of well maintenance, repairs, water and electricity.
benefits to the recipients- “grantees”
Shared well agreements provide Grantees–those receiving the water–with a legal right to draw water from the well. Without a written shared well agreement, a well owner could deny access to a Grantee. The Agreement is the only assurance Grantees have with a legal right provided in the agreement.
A Grantee might think, “I do not need a formal or accurate shared well share agreement because I’m friendly with my neighbors and we all get along.” But what if those friendly neighbors move? Will you still have a legal right to the water? Remember, without a shared well agreement, the well owner has no legal obligation to share the well water with you.
process of drafting a well share agreement
Verify Well and Parcel Information
The first step in creating an excellent well share agreement is to verify the accuracy of all the relevant information. I’m amazed at how many errors we find when amending or re-drafting an Agreement. If the information in an Agreement is incorrect, then it can create real headaches for everyone involved.
Verify the Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN)
An Assessor’s Parcel Number, abbreviated as APN, is a unique descriptor used by each county to identify assessed real property. The APN includes information about the ownership, characteristics, and valuation of each piece of land that is reordered and tracked by parcel number.
While a property can only have one APN at a time, APNs change on a fairly regular basis as parcels are merged, split, or subdivided. We make sure that the correct APNs are used.
Verify the Legal Descriptions.
Occasionally we find errors in the legal descriptions used to have create a former/current shared well agreement. We verify that the legal descriptions are correct.
The Agreement is Reviewed and Recorded
Once the Agreement has been approved and signed by all Parties, it is recorded with the county. Recording the Agreement reduces the odds of someone later challenging the veracity or accuracy of the Agreement. We then take a copy of the recorded agreement and provide it to the ADWR to save in the Well’s permanent file.
If you need help from an experienced shared well attorney, then contact the Dunaway Law Group at 480-702-1608 or message us HERE.
* The information provided is informational only, does not constitute legal advice, and will not create an attorney-client or attorney-prospective client relationship. Additionally, the Dunaway Law Group, limits its practice to the State of Arizona.