Shared well: I want to pay for my own pumped water.

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by kwhitten, Mar 9, 2011.

  1. kwhitten

    kwhitten New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Shared well: I want to pay for my own pumped water.
    Help!
    I share a well with another land owner. I need to find a way to monitor my water use. I need to find a way to just pay for the water I use. I have my own electric meter for my property. The well is on her land and a waterline comes out of her house over to my property. Any ideas???
  2. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,549
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    All you need is a flow meter. But a new well and pump can cost $5,000, and just replacing a pump can cost $1,000. It doesn't matter if you use 10,000 gallons per day or just 10 gallons per day, the well and pump still cost the same. The fair thing to do would be to meter both houses. Then if you only use 25% of the total water pumped, you should only pay for 25% of the electricity. But sometimes using the smaller amounts of water can wear out the pump faster than using large amounts of water, because smaller amounts cause the pump to cycle more. And because you use less water, doesn't mean it is any less important to you than someone who uses more. So I think cost of the well and repairs to the pump should be split 50/50, no mater who uses the most water.
  3. kwhitten

    kwhitten New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Thank you for responding:)
    What is a flow meter? Also, is there any way I can figure out haw much electric I use from the flow meter? The other landowner gets all well usage on his electric bill, because, the well in on his property. I just want to be able to pay my portion of his bill.
  4. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,549
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    This is one of my favs.
    http://catalog.gpi.net/item/a1-seri...es-commercial-grade-meter-3/pn-10077?&seo=110

    We can get fairly close to the electric cost per gallon by if we know the horsepower, depth of well, and the amount you pay per Kw.
  5. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,259
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    In WI a shared well agreement is usually written into the purchase agreement for the property. If it is not, the well owner can disconnect you at their will.

    If the well needs repair or replacement, you will be liable for 50% of the cost.
    IMO, the average electric cost to run a well pump for a 1 bath home in the Midwest is less than $10 a month.
  6. WellWaterProducts

    WellWaterProducts In the trades

    Messages:
    126
    Location:
    Northwood NH
    If you buy the water at $1/250 gallons, that should cover the electrical cost and wear & tear/depreciation on the system. The bottom line is that there is no 100% perfect method. The most important thing is that both parties feel that it's fair.
  7. kwhitten

    kwhitten New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    It is written in the perches agreement of their lot which houses the well. And yes, I know I am responsible for 50% of the well. Thank you
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,034
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    The problem with just installing two water meters in the lines, just determines the percentage of use by each family. They would also need an electric meter to determine HOW MUCH total electricity the pump is using, AND the cost of that power to divide it up equitably
  9. kwhitten

    kwhitten New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Thank you Thank you! I will work on getting the horsepower of well pump, depth of well, and the amount I pay per Kw. I have also ordered information on your favorite Flow Meter. I’ll get back to you
  10. WellWaterProducts

    WellWaterProducts In the trades

    Messages:
    126
    Location:
    Northwood NH
    I'm going to bet that one dollar's worth of electricity will pump 500 to 1000 gallons.
  11. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,141
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Instead of measuring just your water flow which doesn't directly relate to the overall cost, perhaps measure the water flow separately for both parties and agree on how to split the cost calculated on a base plus percentage formula.
  12. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,141
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
  13. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,549
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    I have several of those, and they actually work pretty good down to 1 GPM. But you are right, any really low flows won't spin the meter. They make meters with leak detector needles. Might look at a Badger 3/4" meter.
  14. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,141
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    While electricity rates can vary a lot, I have an anecdote of how a friend's bill more than doubled because of a water leak.

    He had retired his old "mud" well after getting a new "rock" well put in. When they put in the rock well, they trenched over to the existing water line which they cut and installed a 90 degree galvanized elbow. Over the years, the elbow developed a small hole and water taking the path of least resistance, flowed into the open end of the pipe that ran to the old well. My friend noticed that the old well was overflowing but thought nothing of it, focussing instead on his electric meter, thinking that there was something wrong with it. This went on for months while he argued with the electric company and had his meter replaced twice. How he could not have noticed that his pump was running 24/7 is a mystery. He only finally discovered it when the hole in the elbow got so large that his house pressure suffered. DOH!

    The moral of the story is that if there is flat rate pricing, some people may use all the water they can simply to get more for their money. I can imagine what that could do for an electric bill.

    Even if the bill is split 50/50, some people will tend to consume more since the other party is paying half of their consumption.
  15. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Why re-invent the wheel? Here is a great well share agreement that you can modify to suit the properties.

    http://www.watersystemscouncil.org/VAiWebDocs/WSCDocs/4451105Shared_Well_Agreement_FINAL.pdf

    I usually pro-rate the repairs based on useage, with a fixed minimum from the lower use party - so even if NO use, they pay a fair share. 2 water meters is the best way, and with "smart spy meters", if you turn off the other breakers, the meter will tell you the exact electric draw for a certain amount of gallons pumped.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2011
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