Current Topic: On my property, up the mountain, are several artesian springs which many neighbors have legal use rights (licenses) on. They also have easements granting them waterline passage. Most of these users are respectful and considerate.
There Always Has To Be A Water Pig...
Our property includes the ten acres of mountain behind us. Within that area is a shelf (bench). A relatively flat area in an otherwise steep grade up the mountain. On that shelf several artesian springs flow. My property also has several waterlines through it which tap those springs and feed my neighbors. All of which have licenses to use and proper easements for maintenance access. Almost all of them respect the fact the I am the landlord of the property and that when they access it they access it as Guests. And they are very mindful not to disrupt my right to use my property. How I see fit. Except for one. The Water Pig.
The current system is built upon several feed-pipes which empty into a small (less then 25 gallons) catch basin which filters gravel and some silt. But more importantly 'it' is the primary (only) reservoir for the system. That feeds seven parcels. Most of which have irrigation and domestic use licenses. The catch here is that five of these users, us included, share water at effectively the same priority. When one goes dry we all go dry. Except for one user. The 'Water Pig'. Which has two domestic and two irrigation licenses. It also turns out that licenses carry a 'priority' privilege for which the Water Pig has Top priority. What's especially annoying is that that 'All' other recipients are adjacent parcels where the Water Pigs property is a few miles away. Yeah! They also have easements on the several properties between ours and theirs. And rights under a few roads as well. These are very old passage rights.
Unfortunately... The way our system is set up. The silt-bucket, which is too small to be considered anything else, has two outtakes. One that all the local users share and the Water Pigs who is somewhere way in the distance. And the Water Pigs outtake (supply line tap) is lower (in elevation) then the the rest of ours. Meaning... We can never starve them out. However, on the contrary, they can and do regularly consume more then the capacity of the system completely disenfranchising us (dry as a bone) while caring nothing about our rights.
This problem has become so severe that we installed a 150 gallon reservoir to our system where the Water Pig has none. Even though the combined allocation for our group is probably over 4500 gallons daily (licenses) the 150 gallon reservoir is hardly enough. Works great for us but when the Water Pig is feeding (hours at a time) our cache depletes rapidly. Yeah! It looks a bit of a kludge but I'll bet our 'Mountain Spring Water' is better then yours. And Chemical free with lots of Minerals.
Harsh words you say... Let me tell you the story of my first encounter with the Water Pig... We were building the foundation for our house at the back of the property. The Water Pig drives up and quickly proclaims supremacy over the water, to me; on my property, claiming we must be 'over' using our allocation because they are 'dry'. Aside from the fact that we have irrigation and domestic use licenses the only water we consumed the entire day was maybe two gallons through our 'mister' to help us keep cool while laboring in the Summer. In spite of that the Water Pig knows that we, the rest of us on the community system, can not starve them out. None the less I got a good tongue lashing about rights and licenses. Really. Can we say 'How to make a poor first impression'. The real kicker here is that about two days later we noticed unusual water where before there was none (percolating up). Hmm! That'd be the Water Pigs line we guessed. So they come by, with their fancy machine, and dig a big hole. After numerous repair attempts and about three days of failure (pressure blowouts) they decided to call it fixed. Even though It was still a horrible repair at best (amateur). And we didn't even get an apology for the previous, incorrect, accusations or even a thank you for helping them find and repair their waterline.
Our second experience happened to coincide with a water repair of our own aging distribution system. We had been requesting the Water Pigs presence, for a while already, to resolve another leak issue on their part. And of course they appear while we are knee deep in water digging out our own line. Which we had to rent a pump for. Because. The last time the Water Pig was here they 'liberated' ours. So at this point we had nothing polite to say to them. Their response of course was 'We didn't take it'. When they finally came back to repair the next leak they of course had found the pump and were returning it. However they needed it to complete the current repair (poorly). With of course no apology or mention of compensation. Remember. We had to rent a pump because ours was 'missing' (in their possession). While the Water Pig is here we point out yet another, but yet not serious, issue under the chicken coop. To this day the Water Pig has ignored it. They keep saying 'We forgot'. In other words... If it is not inconveniencing The Water Pig It's 'Our' problem.
Since then; The Water Pig has continually ignored my requests to be informed when they need access. Normally all it takes is to drive up the driveway and say 'Going up to the waterline'. Or call ahead. Everyone else does. And none of them needed to be asked. They do it because it's just good manners. Especially when walking across a property 'You Do Not Own'. The Water Pig however has now resorted to sneaking up the far side of the property in an attempt to 'Avoid' us. The last time, they were seen driving by our property (scoping it out) and after seeing that we were present went instead to the elderly neighbor and through confusion and misrepresentation gained access through her property so again they can sneak up to the back of our property. Way far away from the waterline they are supposed to be maintaining. This time I caught them sneaking back. The whole family. Having a nice little nature hike on my 'private' property. Which is not a public park. Their excuse was that the neighbor gave them permission. Really. The neighbor can not give them permission to cross my property. And they know that. So they coughed up the 'Nobody Was Home' card. Excuse me. The Caretaker was present and saw them drive by, Shauna was in front mucking the pastures and I was at home in the basement. In other words 'Avoiding'. Can we say 'Blatant Disrespect'. And Lying. It's obvious why I have requested notification for Water Pig access.
I would like to clarify a few things here. We have gone out of our way during the development of our property to be very considerate of the water rights our neighbors have claim to. We have been graciously understanding and cooperative of their efforts towards maintaining their water interests. Quite frankly, we have our own water lines and burden to maintain them. And sometimes it's not pretty. Therefore... We have made sure to include good access for 'external' water maintainers. We placed our fences and driveway in such a way that there are no longer gates, or pastures, between the property access and the water source access. To be quite blunt... We have purposely created public, semi-private and private areas as part of our business plan. In this plan the waterlines cross mostly public areas except for access to the springs which is considered semi-private. Semi-private being the equivalent of the front door. Holler and be welcomed.
The Water Pig seems to think that their easement grants them an access-all-areas pass to crawl around properties they don't own, including poking about sheds and equipment, where they have no business or rights. In fact they actually have no rights. And that's eventually going to work in our favor. The way I read the easement document (grant), all two sentences of it. The Water Pig has 'No' rights. Instead they have two responsibilities. They have a responsibility to maintain a waterline though various parcels. And they have a responsibility to pay (compensate) for any damage the waterline (in case of improper maintenance) causes any 'Dominant' property. Like ours. If either of those responsibilities become neglected the easement may be contested and will most likely be released. If that doesn't pan out, well, the easements are 'Term' easements and the term will expire in several years. And guess who wont be granting a renewal. And the water is on 'My' property.
To really twist the knife in the gut the Water Pig has stated that they need to have a valve open continuously at their end so the pressure does not build up too much which would burst their aging pipeline. Really... Do they bother to close that valve when watering their garden. Geez... And I can't even take a shower sometimes at 6:00 in the morning.
In the meantime We are considering denying access to the Water Pig forcing them to take us to court in hopes that they 'might' respect a court order better then they respect a landlord. A little respect goes a long way here.
In Contrast To The Water Pig...
Aside from the private collection of neighbors that are directly connected to 'My' waterline there are a few independent privateers. Close proximity neighbors. They are always forthcoming when they need access. Usually calling ahead or at the least coming up the driveway to the back where the water lines originate. Not hiding from me. Quite frankly. Since our renovations. Access to the waterline has never been better. Instead of having to cross a few pastures and several gates the access is now available directly from the entry road. Most people would consider this a convenience. I sure do. Apparently the Water Pig considers this too direct an approach. And I'm getting tired of it.
A little history of the waterline... Most of the accesses are due to the fact that the water, on my property, is unique. We have a mountain behind us that is clearly an aquifer. A natural underground storage tank. Way back when the licenses were issued and the easements were granted there were only a few properties which have now been subdivided into several. The original owner of my property was very kind and granted easements to various neighbors who were otherwise desperate for the water that oozes out of the mountain. A quite Honorable deed actually. Unfortunately... Over 85 years later it has not worked so well. He's been gone for sometime now and mostly the maintainers of the water supply have not been so considerate of the trespass to my property verses the cheap necessity to maintain their water. In other words there has been a lot of damage over the years. Of course to a portion of the property way up top that I don't frequent. None the less. It's now a wasteland requiring a big cleanup effort. Which I do not have time for now.
All of which continues to erode my land. The upside of that however is...