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Check Irrigation & Flooding on a Property with Google Earth

How to Do Land Due Diligence Using Google Earth

Hey, today we will look at Google Earth’s history feature; we’ll show you how we’re using for a property in Middleton, Idaho, that we have in escrow and doing land due diligence on. We’re using this tool to look at how the water flows across the property to ensure we can build structures that won’t be affected by water; I also want to show you how we can see some irrigation system history on the property.

Step 1: Download the Google Earth Desktop App

First, you will want to download the desktop app for Google Earth to access the historical imagery.

Using Google Earth

So we’re looking at a piece of property about five and a half acres; you have a southernly, easterly, northern, and western boundary, and on the property currently is a house and shop. The cool thing about the history feature of Google Earth is it typically defaults, so you can see the image date you’re looking at; a lot of times, it will adjust the date at the bottom as you move through the images. This tool will also give you:

  • Coordinates
  • Elevations

It’s a cool feature that you can see. So you can drag your mouse around and see the elevation change as you go up, but we’re going to talk about the water moving across the property today. 

Check the Property Water Flow to Build a Barn

We’re looking at a higher area of the property for the barn, so we want to check to see how the water flow was in the past. So we see some runoff from the farmer’s fields, and it goes down the road to the ditch where the water pools up; eventually, it drains and goes across and out underneath the main road to the other side. So we went back to June 2014, and it looked like the ditch was failing because the water wasn’t draining correctly; that issue has since been fixed in 2015. 

The area of the property we’re looking at is pretty high because the water flow wasn’t an issue when it wasn’t controlled, so that is great. With the water flow being managed and maintained now, water won’t be an issue in the area of the property we want for the barn.

Gravity-Fed Ditch for Irrigation

Another thing we found when looking at Google Earth, back in 2010, regarding irrigation is a gravity-fed ditch. It’s an open ditch for the irrigation to come down, bringing the water down from the canal to the higher elevation.

Pressurized Irrigation System

So in 2008, and I noted this by talking to and gathering information from other individuals, there was a property lot split. Once they did that, they installed a pressurized irrigation system, where they started trenching and doing the work; that is backfilled now. However, this property has no schematic because the owner did not provide that.

The neighbor had torn out the irrigation line before digging out a pond, so we need to locate the line to tie into it and reconnect to the pressurized line from the canal. So that was a helpful find too. 

Locating the Septic System Using Google Earth

We started to look at the history to locate the septic. Often, that’s how we find septic systems that aren’t documented on the property; however, we weren’t able to do that with this one. 

It’s because one person was living in this house, and there’s not a lot of usage on the septic system. So you can’t see a green area that you often would see inside a leach floor or field. So we’ll camera the line to find out where the tank is and then try to chase it down that way.

Verifying and Pinning the Property Corners

Another helpful thing we found was the fence line, which had been adjusted in 2015. So we’re now verifying the property corner location because we found the record of surveys; we’ll get you some updates on that, but a couple of them were able to be pinned already, and they’re all showing us that they’re capped and located by a surveyor.

Conclusion

You can find several things with the historical images provided by Google Earth, so check it out! That will give you a good idea of what you can piece together for the property story. So I hope that helped you learn how to use Google Earth to do more due diligence on the land you’re looking to buy. So if you need help buying or selling land or buying or selling your home, feel free to reach out to us.

Contact Freeman's Construction Inc

Also, if you want to build a home or an accessory dwelling unit, contact us to schedule a consultation. We’re a full-service residential real estate and building company. We specialize in residential real estate. You can also check out all of our videos on realpropertytv.com. We have a ton of information you can check out and get more information. Thanks for joining me, and have a great rest of your day.

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