Obtaining Water Service in a Community Garden
Vacant land used as growing sites -- also known as community gardens or urban agriculture -- have become quite popular in Columbus. While the central Ohio area often receives adequate rainfall during most years, many gardening groups desire water service to help get through the hot, dry periods. To obtain water service, the following items will need to be gathered:
- The property's Parcel ID number from the Franklin County Auditor's Office
- A certified property address which can be obtained by completing an address request form and submitting it to the city's Division of Planning 614-645-5661. Allow 1 - 3 days for processing.
- The property owner must grant permission to use the grounds as a growing site and sign a tenant billing agreement with the gardening organization.
- If the garden is part of the city's Land Bank (Department of Development), their manager will represent the city and sign the Tenant Billing Agreement (above) as the owner. For more information, visit Land Bank Community Garden Program; a map of locations is also available.
- To determine if the property ever had water service, call the Permit Office at Public Utilities: 614-645-7490. This will determine the next steps (2 scenarios outlined below) and any water connection fees that may be required.
- You will then need to complete a service connection permit application with the Utilities Permit Office located in the Michael B. Coleman Government Center at 111 N. Front Street, Columbus, OH 43215. You will need the items listed above (parcel number, certified property address, Tenant Billing Agreement and possibly signed a Land Bank Site Lease).
The two scenarios for water service at the property and next steps:
1. If water service previously existed at the property (the more typical scenario):
Contact a licensed water contractor to install:
- Any piping needed from the curb stop to the meter
- Meter box
- Backflow prevention device
- Piping from the backflow device to the spigot
Illustration with existing service on-site
2. If water service never existed at the property (less common):
Contact the Permit Office at 614-645-7490 to have a service line and curb box installed off of the city's main line; then proceed with steps above.
Water Connection Fees
Cost estimates for obtaining water service on a growing site:
If using an existing water service tap:
This estimate includes the piping from the tap (curb stop) to the meter enclosure, meter setting, meter, backflow prevention device and the meter enclosure.
If a new water service tap is needed:
In addition to the above items, this estimate also includes the cost to make a tap at the water main and the piping from the water main to the curb stop.
The price for a new tap varies greatly depending on where the existing water main is within the right of way. Maintenance of traffic and pavement restoration costs can increase significantly depending on how far away the water main is from the garden property.
Please note that growing sites on vacant property will be assigned a water-only account (i.e. no sewer charges will apply). If a building exists on the property that has a meter to be used for water consumption on the garden, an auxiliary/sewer deduct meter can eliminate sewer charges for the water used outdoors.
If your garden has a cistern:
This list of water haulers provides options for gardeners who are interested in contracting to fill cisterns during periods of low rainfall.
For more information:
Department of Public Utilities Permit Office
Weekdays 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
111 N. Front Street
Michael B. Coleman Government Center
(free short term parking in the garage across Long Street)