Shared well question

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by RAM1961, Apr 7, 2014.

  1. RAM1961

    RAM1961 New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Polson, Montana
    I have a well on my property that we bought a year and a half ago, and it is shared with neighbor. Not sure how it works, but this well has it's own electric meter with bill being sent to the neighbor - why not us, I don't know. Right now the shared well agreement states it's a 50/50 split on the electric bill to run the pump, etc.

    I've had shared wells for the past 18 years, and do know they don't use a lot of electricity, at least around here. My winter electric bill has always been higher (averaging $100/month in the winter and $80/month in the summer). The neighbor sent us the six month that ran from May to November, and I was shocked to see my half of just the water bill was $240. The previous six months from November to May was about $50. I know we didn't use $240 worth of watering a lawn in July and August in particular. It's just the two of us - empty nesters - no garden, livestock, etc. to water - just an underground sprinkler system that we set up to run only at night about 10 weeks of the year. Meanwhile, next door, we see the neighbors building "permaculture" mounds all over and they're not only watering the heck out of them, they've ditch-witched a few more trenches to lay down water lines to what I assume will be more of these ugly looking mounds. They've also said they are going to get cattle and/or sheep and plant an orchard.

    So the way I see it - I need some kind of metering device that will show usage to both residences and pay accordingly. The well is about 400' from our house and about 600' from their house. I don't know where one would be hooked up, or how to do it. Would I go to a well driller, or the electric company or who? Thanks in advance.
  2. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    950
    Location:
    ct
    First thing I would do is find a competent well or pump guy and have him check the pump and system. It sounds as though it isn't shutting off, maybe due to a leak or possibly because the pump is worn out.
  3. VAWellDriller

    VAWellDriller Member

    Messages:
    171
    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    USA Blue Book sells all types of water meters; get one for each house, and put them as close to the well preferably right where it splits. This will let you catch leaks in the line if the use doesn't make sense.
  4. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,303
    Location:
    IL
    I expect that agreement has more to it. You will want to know your and your neighbor's rights under the agreement. I don't know if those are standard agreements, but, if so, I would think that the agreement might be for just household use and not irrigation etc. http://www.watersystemscouncil.org/VAiWebDocs/WSCDocs/4451105Shared_Well_Agreement_FINAL.pdf is a sample. Under that agreement, the users could not use the water for irrigation (page 3 item 1).

    Page 5 item 15 would seem to say that you could cut your neighbor off. You probably would rather not do so, but you could certainly get a new agreement if you had that ability under the agreement.

    Of course your agreement could vary substantially.

    I guess it is a really deep well? With such high power usage, I would guess yes. A more efficient pump could be worthwhile.

    It is also possible that the other party will agree to a equitable change in the agreement due to the mismatch in usage.
  5. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    I have written and have many well shares. Its a mine field. Usually you split the repair costs on the pump and tank, and then split the cost of pumping water. If you have a meter for the well that tells you the power used, thats exactly half of the story. NOW you need a water meter on the line that feeds your land. ideally you both have a meter on your lines, but usually they are not split at the well. Now. all you need to do is determine the cost of pumping one gallon of water - can be done with an ammeter or that meter, and doing some math. THEN you read your meter now and again and pay for the electricity on the established cost of pumping one gallon. all the remainder is for the other guy. but when the pump goes out, you pay 1/2 no matter if he used 80% of the water.
  6. RAM1961

    RAM1961 New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Polson, Montana
    Meters are in. The guy who installed is still looking for a meter readout with a remote - preferably 3/4" Now for how silly this system works. The actual well pump is triggered by one pressure tank that is for both homes. Meters are installed on the two separate lines out of the pressure tank to each house. So rather inefficient to say the least and uphill to both homes (further to other home. But as I suspected water usage has been running 78-80% to them and 20-22% to us. They've used over 17,000 gallons in less then four weeks. So I will start tracking all this and will go back for amendment to well agreement that states 50% maintenance to both owners, rather than being based on usage. Right now if pump went out - I'm responsible for 50% of repairs even though I'm using the pump system less then 25% of the time. The neighbors like this program and they weren't happy to start seeing actual readouts after telling me I was full of crap on the usage back in late March/early April.

    So again, the installer is trying to find a meter readout that can be mounted on the fenced in area above ground (he mentioned brand name Kent), vs. having to go down underground and reading it. The neighbors was installed above ground.
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