Considering purchasing a property with water rights? There a few things you should know.
Water is the most fundamental resource that can attach to property and it is subject to court decisions, laws, ordinances, rules, regulations, compacts and private contracts.
Albuquerque Business Law can assist you with your water rights.
Title to water rights, location and permitted use and restrictions should be independently verified by an expert such as an engineer, hydrologist or qualified attorney.
The existence of water rights does not ensure that water actually is or will be available on your property. Even if the water is accessible, it may be limited or restricted.
Title insurance does not generally cover water rights. A buyer must complete specific legal procedures to transfer or develop water rights.
If a property is not connected to a public water system, it may use a private, shared, or community well. (Link to Well-share agreements post). Domestic wells fall under the jurisdiction of the Office of State Engineer (OSE). However, additional county and/or municipal ordinances and restrictions may apply to domestic well permitting and use.
The Drilling of domestic wells and the amount of water use permitted are subject legal limitations. For wells drilled on or after August 15, 2006, the maximum household usage per domestic well is one-acre-foot per year. For those wells drilled prior to August 15, 2006 the maximum usage is three-acre-feet per year.
Those numbers change for wells serving multiple households.
Some counties have ordinances that require single-household wells be metered.
Beware! There are fines for exceeding maximum use.
If you are considering purchasing a property with water rights, you should consult an experienced attorney to assist you in complying with all applicable laws and protecting your rights and investment. The attorneys at Albuquerque Business Law can help you protect your most fundamental resource.