There Are Riches in Niches, If You Are Well Informed!


Gary Hix
Author, Domestic Water Wells in Arizona, A Guide for Realtors and Mortgage Lenders
Educator, Arizona School of Real Estate & Business


Domestic water wells may seem like something you would have to travel to the heart of the Arizona desert to find. On the contrary, many water wells exist throughout Arizona in both the inner and outer cities.

There are also numerous suburban ranches and horse properties located inside the AMA’s surrounding Arizona’s larger cities. Chris crossing the state from Kingman to Page to Yuma and San Simone there are thousands of homes and vacation properties served by domestic water wells. The photo illustrates the distribution of all water wells throughout the state. Private and shared water wells were the main sources of potable water for many years and for some properties the only source of water available today.

Water wells are a factor of Arizona real estate and a topic that many Realtors and mortgage lenders are not well versed on. As specialization for real estate sales becomes more and more popular – gaining knowledge on water wells becomes important considering the number that exist.

By 2017, there could be as many as 120,000 private or shared, domestic water wells in Arizona, serving approximately 10 percent of the state’s population in mostly rural areas. Limited tracking is conducted on the actual number of domestic wells and where people are getting their drinking water supply, so these numbers are estimates. Some people receive their drinking water from wells classified as irrigation or livestock wells and numerous families live on a single shared water-well system. Further, some wells are counted as domestic when the home is actually on a public supply system and the domestic water well is used for irrigation purposes only. Therefore, the true count of people who rely exclusively on water supplied from domestic water wells in Arizona will always remain an estimated number — but may also come as a surprise when reviewing public records on a home.


Distribution Of All The Water Wells in Arizona

While the economy continues to improve and more people move into Arizona, some buyers may turn away from the multitude of tract homes in the inner city and look for land to build their dream home on. With land prices remaining at an extremely high price point in many areas, property outside of the inner city communities with a private water well may be a viable option — and the only source of water available.

Some buyers may also want to live off the grid as much as possible to promote sustainability and “green.” living — properties with domestic water wells support that inner need. In addition to water supply as it relates to the sustaining the environment, solar powered water wells are far more common today. Solar and wind powered water wells, now also ground source heat pumps, are being installed in many remodeled or new homes that can dramatically reduce heating and cooling costs.

Most professionals and consumers are not sufficiently informed about the rules, regulations and permits of private, water wells, unless they were born and raised with one. For Realtors, preparation and training is essential in order to serve buyers properly. There are many sources available to help with this including the new booklet (2015) available from the Arizona Department of Water Resources.

An “expert” in water well properties can be a lucrative niche for those real estate professionals looking to specialize in an area outside of the “norm” — and provide many untapped opportunities.



Gary is a Certified Real Estate instructor for a class titled Water Wells and Real Estate transfers. His Arizona DOR accredited CE courses are taught at the Arizona School of Real Estate and Business. He is also a Registered Professional Geologist in Arizona, and a Certified Well Driller / Pump Installer by the National Ground Water Association and, a Certified Professional Geologist by the American Institute of Professional Geologists. Gary has authored over 50 articles on subjects related to well drilling, and inspecting issues.