Easement FAQ's

What is the difference between an easement, right of way or fee title property?

Easement or Right of Way - An easement (sometimes referred to as a right of way) is a grant of permission from a landowner that allows WBWCD or the Bureau of Reclamation to install, access, operate, maintain and replace water related infrastructure across the landowner property.
Fee Title Property – Fee title property is a parcel that is owned by the Bureau of Reclamation or WBWCD. These properties were acquired to allow for the construction of water related infrastructure and for continued access, operation, maintenance and replacement of this infrastructure.

How do I deal with an easement that is on land that I am developing?

The best practice is to leave easements as green space or similar use areas. The Bureau of Reclamation’s document “Engineering and O&M Guidelines for Crossings” is a great resource for understanding what is allowed with existing easements or fee title property. A link to download this document is located below.

Can I install improvements across easement or fee title property?

Certain improvements can be made on Bureau of Reclamation or WBWCD easements or fee title property by filling out an encroachment application form and by going through the proper review process. For easements or right of way, an Easement Encroachment Agreement is required. For fee title properties, a License Agreement is required. All applications are considered on a case by case basis to ensure that:
WBWCD/Bureau of Reclamation Infrastructure is not damaged or compromised
The proposed work will not compromise water quality or water flow
The proposed work will not interfere with future access or WBWCD’s ability to access and maintain the infrastructure
The proposed work will not increase liability or cost to WBWCD/Bureau of Reclamation
Some examples of encroachments that may be permitted are:
Utility crossings that are perpendicular (70-90 degrees) to the existing feature/easement
Shallow rooted landscape plants (no trees allowed)
Shallow sprinkling systems
Non-Reinforced Driveways (depending on the type of pipe/infrastructure being crossed)
In cases where fee title property will be used, the Bureau of Reclamation or WBWCD may charge a land use fee for the encroachment.