Owning and managing agricultural property is an essential part of the American economy. Without ranchers, many of the products people need every day would be more expensive and difficult to come by.
As you develop your ranch and your business, your needs tend to grow, too. In addition to expansions, you may also have parts of your farm that need equipment repaired or replaced, including your water sources.
Here’s what you should know about the water supply on your land and the rules that apply to access it.
It’s all yours
With underground commodities like water and oil, there can be complex issues about ownership. Unless you have an alternate arrangement like an easement in Texas, the water under your property is yours.
Unlike other areas, you typically do not need a permit or permission to drill a well on your property. Keep in mind, however, you have a duty to maintain the integrity of the groundwater and could be liable for contamination or other issues that could arise from improper drilling.
With some exceptions
The most significant exception you may have that could limit your ability to drill a well is an easement. The type of easement you have will determine what you need to do before you start digging.
While it is not a concern for many agricultural properties, if your ranch is located on or near a public water system, you may need to make additional arrangements before you start drilling. You will also need to consult any privately held easements if those exist.
Taking the proper precautions before you start drilling can save you problems in the future with your groundwater. It is critical to learn what rules apply when you are drilling for a new well.