The Californian Drought and Real Estate Issues

One of the first questions we get asked when meeting someone is, “Which Projects have you worked on?”  Most recently, the second question is almost always, “Where are they getting the water for that?”

It would appear the California drought is still alive and well and, as the hot summer days are approaching, the question is becoming more relevant as a concern for home builders.

During the height of the drought years, we’ve had several projects gain county planning commission approval and start construction, but then get denied a Public Report by BRE, all because the water company would not write a letter stating there would be “ample” potable water available to the homebuyers indefinitely .

Even though the state received a good measure of rain this winter, the fear is still looming.   Just last week, we received a water will-serve letter that only guaranteed water for 2 years.  This means, the builder will only get a Public Report for two years.

Even more complex are the rural developments.  The Bureau requires a letter from the County Health Department certifying the ground water is potable and there is ample supply, together with a licensed well driller’s letter certifying at what depth to drill in order to find the ample and potable water.

The good news is changes are happening; we have worked with several existing HOAs as they work with the city to change their common area watering to ‘purple pipe’ water.  Also, there are two multi-billion-dollar bond measures on the ballots this year pertaining to water storage and recycling improvements.

As time goes on, I’m hopeful that a denied public report due to lack of water will be a “BRE War-Story” from the past!  Only time, and rain, will tell.