How Do You Get Water to Vacant Land?

Updated December 20th, 2022

From having a septic tank to digging for a well, when you buy vacant land, the ways you get water can be complicated. If you’re new to this, it can feel overwhelming.

If you’re even considering buying vacant land, how you’ll get water is something you have to think about carefully.

When you’re looking for a vacant property where you want to build, whether or not there’s water availability can affect your daily life and how you use water, and also your property’s value.

Before you actually buy, you need to know if the land is served by a public source of water or whether you’ll have to get a well dug.

Is There Service From a Supply of Public Water?

If you’re thinking about buying a property that’s within city limits, there’s a high likelihood it will have accessibility to public water. Public water access means that there’s water coming from a central location through water lines.  It’s accessible for public use, and usually provided by a water company or a government entity.

If you want to find out whether a piece of land has public water available to it, you can look at the sales listing in more detail or talk to the real estate agent or seller.

If you find out that you’re thinking about buying land where public water is available, then you need to contact the provider of the water locally or the relevant government agency. When you contact them, you need to ask about the main water line location and any permits you’re going to need for a connection to the main line.

You should ask if there’s a connection fee and, if so, the cost and any regulatory guidelines you’ll have to comply with as far as a new connection. You also need to inquire about whether you need a water meter that you have to buy, which can cost thousands of dollars.

Community Well

If you buy land not served by a source of publicly available water, but there’s a relatively high population density, like a suburb, there may be community well service.

If there’s a community well, a homeowner’s association or a water association will usually own it and control it.

If this is true for the land you’re considering buying or you already own, you need to get in touch with the association and find out the connection fee and ask about the quality of the water based on testing.

You’ll inquire about the requirements to connect to the community system, the condition of the well, and whether you’ll need to buy a water meter. You’ll also need to know if the supply from the community well is sufficient and reliable.

If a homeowners association owns the community well, then your water usage fees should be included in your homeowners’ dues. You may need to pay charges for replacing, repairing, monitoring, or maintaining the well.

Individual Wells

If you buy land where there’s no access to a community or public source of water, you have to get someone to dig a well to get water.

You should talk to a licensed well driller or perhaps the county building department and ask them what regulations you’ll have to adhere to and how likely it is that you’ll find a supply of water with sustainability and reliability. You’ll need to ask about the required permits and the expected timeline for the entire process.

Well water comes directly from the earth. To create a private well there’s the drilling of a hole until the aquifer is reached. This is a permeable layer of rock containing water. Then, a pump is used to get that water up out of the ground and into your home.

Well water isn’t treated with chlorine, unlike municipal water. It’s naturally filtered by the layers of rock and soil it goes through. That doesn’t mean it’s bacteria-free, though. You’ll need things like filtration and a slow travel time to control bacteria.

Septic Systems

Finally, one other thing to know about getting water to land is that you may have a septic system. If no sewer system serves your land, you’ll need to install a septic system.

A site evaluation will be done to determine if you can build a conventional septic system that’s gravity-fed or if you’ll need an alternative system.

There are regulations about where a septic system can be installed, so you’ll have to make sure you’re going to have enough room left on your land to actually build the home you’re planning on.

The site evaluation results can significantly impact your property value, so you should condition the purchase of vacant land based on the evaluation being acceptable.

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