Water Part Three: Do your homework

I think a lot of folks want a small meandering creek because they are nice to look at, but they also want them in case they want a lake at some point in the future.  I’ve heard a thousand times that a tract had a creek and a “beautiful lake site” on it.   Here’s some advice – unless you hear that statement from an engineer who jut performed a lake design on the property, ignore it.  The simple truth is that most folks will never build a lake or pond.  It is expensive, time consuming, and in most states, difficult to get permitted.  If you want a lake, buy a tract with a lake.

A bit of advice about creeks and lakes.  Creeks with large watersheds (areas that drain into your creek) can go from a trickle to a flood in a flash.  Pardon the pun.  Creeks that flow steadily during periods of regular rain can go dry as a bone in periods of prolonged drought.  Lakes can suffer the same situation.  I have seen farm ponds and lakes go completely dry and fill right back up in the last two years.

Also be aware that lakes and ponds can come with problems, particularly older ones.  Drains in older ponds and lakes are notorious for clogging, leaking, and other problems associated with neglect.  Lakes and ponds (even the older ones) with the newer siphon systems are a better bet than a simple drain stand.  Also be mindful of dam integrity issues caused by trees (particularly large ones) growing on the dam.

Take your time.  Do your homework.  Make sure you’re getting what you want.  Water on a tract is great.  Water problems on a tract aren’t.  And just like a bad location, both are hard to change after you own it.

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