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can you drill a water well without mineral rights

2023-06-07

As a landowner pondering the viability of drilling a water well, chances are you have deliberated on whether you need to possesses mineral rights to the property before commencing the process. Unfortunately, this is not a straightforward yes or no answer – each location is governed by its own unique legalities and ordinances.

Mineral rights essentially provide permission to obtain or commercially geld minerals from properties, like oil, gas, coal, gold, and silver. In contrast, the surface rights associated with a property permits its owner to inhabit and utilize it.

It is possible for an individual or entity to possess both the surface rights and mineral rights of a property; however, alternatively, the mineral rights may also be held by another party altogether. Consequently, should this be the situation, the holder of the surface rights will be unable to obtain minerals from the land without receiving permission.

Growing out of the wider concept of mineral and surface rights, water rights give an individual property proprietor the legal permit to use either the groundwater or surface water that’s situated on their land. These rights are typically associated with the land, not the minerals found underneath, thus helping ensure an owner’s complete autonomy over their own personal resources.

Technically, it is possible to secure a water well even without mineral rights. Although, if you plan to proceed down this route, there are a few potential difficulties to keep in mind.

Mineral rights owners could possess the authority to remove water from the aquifer located beneath the premises, regardless of whether a well has been drilled there by the landowner – leading to a circumstance rife for potential conflicts or compliant issues. This is an area of great anxiety.

Even if you have already dug a well and started using the underground water for agricultural or home usage, another downside may be that the person with control over the mineral rights could have the capacity to lease or trade their rights to the subsoil water below your land. This could generate eventual tensions, or even legal disagreements, if you aren’t properly aware of the associated legal regulations related to it.

If you don’t possess mineral rights, you still have some options for accessing groundwater. You can obtain legal access to obtain minerals and water from the land by leasing or buying the mineral rights from the current owner. This way, you’ll secure both your water rights and rights to the surface.

If drilling on land for a well of groundwater is out of the question due to difficult mineral rights, an alternative can be sought in alternative sources of groundwater – such as stockpiling rainwater or drawing from surface water sources located in nearby rivers and streams. Although these methods might not be quite as dependable or predictable as drilling a well, the ability to tap into such resources greatly expands one’s access to water.

Before you decide to reach beneath the soil to dig for water, it is essential to understand the local laws and regulations related to drilling a well. There is no universal answer as to if you need mineral rights, as the regulations vary depending on your location. It is prudent to be cognizant of any potential obstacles and risks associated with such an undertaking, and to explore other avenues for accessing groundwater if needed.



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