Is it Possible to Get Out of a Shared Well Agreement?
Before addressing the question of how to cancel a well share agreement, let’s first explore how well share agreements are created.
A shared well agreement is a contract regarding the drilling, maintenance, and use of a water well between multiple users. The agreement must properly identify the parties, properties, well location and water distribution system, maintenance liabilities, easements, and registered water rights, if any. Parties must be identified with their full legal names. The properties, well, and easement locations subject to the agreement must be identified using valid legal descriptions and a diagram showing the locations of the well and distribution system attached as exhibits. Failure to properly identify and to specify uses and maintenance liabilities for the well in the agreement can lead to future misunderstandings. Additionally, a shared well agreement should be both notarized and recorded with the county recorder’s office.
Well share agreements are simply written contracts entered into by people sharing water from the same well. Like most contracts, these well share agreements can be modified, amended, or terminated if certain rules are met.
A professionally drafted shared well agreement will explain the process of amending or cancelling the contract. They will often say something like, “This agreement can only be modified in writing and with the approval of a majority of the parties.”
Most professionally written well share agreements require all of the property owners to continue paying their portion even if they are not using the well at all!
well share agreements “run with the land”
“Running with the land” refers to the rights and obligations in real estate that remain with the property regardless of who owns it. The rights and obligations are tied to the property and not to the owner and so they stay in place as the land is transferred from one owner to another and so a property owner cannot say, “I’m going to cancel the agreement”.
The importance of this means that an Arizona property owner who purchases a home with a shared well is obligated to abide by the well share agreement even if they did not sign it!
Lastly, remember that the Arizona Department of Water Resources does not regulate shared well agreements. As such, it will not become involved in interpreting or enforcing the agreements.
The Dunaway Law Group drafts and amends shared well agreements. If you are looking to draft a new agreement or make modifications to an existing shared well agreement then contact us at 480-702-1608 or Clint@DunawayLG.com.
* These blog posts are not intended, nor shall they be deemed to render legal advice. Reading these blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship, nor shall it impose an obligation on the part of the law firm to respond to further inquiry.