Conducting a Water Feasibility Study, how long they are taking to complete in the Central TX area and why tapping into the city or co-op water line at your property is not guaranteed…at least without paying a pretty penny.

Whenever you’re developing real estate, if you’ll be tapping into a co-op or city water line, it is vital that you conduct a water feasibility study to ensure that that water line has capacity. What you’ll need to do is submit a water feasibility study application along with the preliminary plan requesting how many water taps or LUEs that you’ll need. LUE stands for Living Unit Equivalent and it’s just pretty much a fancy way of saying how many water taps you’ll need. The feasibility study is conducted by an Engineer of Record that is working with the local water company. Then they will determine if there’s enough capacity in that line.

A few caveats with this water feasibility:
1. Studies are starting to take 45 to 60+ days. They used to take only 30 days, but there is so much demand in the greater Austin area right now that the feasibility studies are taking longer and longer. So, up to two months in some cases. So, we always recommend for your option period, when you’re buying land, don’t put 30 days for your option period if you know that it’s going to take 60 days for the water feasibility study.

2. Also, just because there is a large water line in front of your property does not mean at all that there’s enough capacity in that line. Even if there’s a four to eight inch line, what if someone submitted a feasibility study application requesting 500 LUEs before you? You may not be guaranteed to be able to get water out of that line, even if it’s a large water line.

3. Another caveat, I see a lot of real estate agents post in their listings that “water is available.” What does that mean? Honestly, as an agent, I require our team to do a lot more due diligence and agents need to step up their game, because this is fraught with potential disaster and potentially a lawsuit. If you’re saying that “water is available,” but you haven’t called the local utility company to confirm that there is capacity or there is actually water available, you could be liable for that. We actually were working with an agent and they said, “water is available.” We called the local water company and they said, “Yes you can tap into our line, but it’s going to cost $66,000 dollars.” Just for one water tap. Generally speaking, a water tap costs anywhere from $4,000-$8,000, so you can imagine our surprise when we realized that it was going to be $66,000. This is all resolved with a simple phone call. So, the agent should have called and been forthright with that.

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