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Water Rights/Easements 2019
History Of Fair Oak Ranch Utilities
The original water utility was created by Ralph E. Fair, Inc. (“Fair”), an entity created by Ralph E. Fair, Jr., when he began developing his family ranch. As development occurred and as needed, ground water wells were drilled to provide potable water to the City inhabitants. In addition, easements were executed to provide the right to the use of the well and well site, the right to service the wells, the right to access the wells, and to secure the sanitary control easement surrounding each well. Fair conveyed the water utility to Glenpool Company, Inc. (“Glenpool”) in May 1978.
After the City of Fair Oaks Ranch was incorporated in January 1997, Glenpool sold the water utility to the City in December of 1997. At that time, the City named the newly-owned water company, Fair Oaks Ranch Utilities.
The Challenge We Face Today
In early 2019, the City received a demand letter for payment of royalties for production of water from a well located on a residents property. The claim states the City does not have the right to an ingress-egress easement to the well site, a use easement for the well site, a service easement to maintain the well site, a required sanitary control easement, or the right to produce the groundwater from the wellsite.
Each well and the surface surrounding the well has been used by the water utility since it began production by Ralph E. Fair, Inc. and continued as such by Fair Oaks Ranch Utilities. The City believes every owner of a lot with a well on it knew, from various sources, when purchasing the lot of the existence of the City’s wells and easements. Accordingly, we claim ownership of each well site and the water produced, including any remaining interest in the groundwater, from each well site. We have asked the lot owners to ratify or agree that the wells and easements are validly owned by the City. To further shore up our records, the City reached out to the 107 lots with sanitary control easements around each well asking them to ratify the easements are validly owned by the City.
More detailed information on this challenge can be found below. Visit this web page periodically as additional information will be posted as we progress with this issue.