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Established 1908
private Wells for residence Use – 6.700

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by E. Marx, R. Waskom and also D. Wolfe* (12/13)

Quick Facts…

Prior to drilling a soil water well in Colorado, friend must have actually a permit from the Colorado department of Water Resources, likewise known together the State Engineer’s Office.Most private domestic wells in Colorado space “exempt” from management in the priority system and do not need augmentation.Wells for most other uses, such as irrigation, are taken into consideration “non-exempt” and also are administered in ~ the priority system.

Ground water wells are the principle resource of water for most homeowners in rural locations of Colorado. There are over 200,000 permits for ground water wells at this time issued in ours state and approximately 4,000 new permits are requested annually. Many of this wells are provided for households and also are thought about “exempt” native the management within the water civil liberties priority system. They need a permit from the State Engineer, and also are limited to 15 gallons the water per minute. Some exempt wells room further restricted to in-house usage only as soon as lot sizes are smaller sized than 35 acres.

Wells for many other uses, such as irrigation, are considered “non-exempt” and are administered in ~ the priority system. Their usage is limited by the terms of the permit, and since they room junior in priority, lock must have actually augmentation to plan to replace water to the stream mechanism in over-appropriated basins.

Rural domestic well in the foothills.

Ground water is uncovered in formations referred to as aquifers that occur throughout the state. One aquifer is a geologic formation made up of porous material such together sand, gravel, and also unconsolidated rocks. That may likewise consist the spaces or fractures in between subterranean rocks that room saturated v water. Aquifers might be as shallow together a few feet, or together deep as thousands of feet listed below the floor surface. Wells in mountainous areas of the Front variety typically mean 350 feet deep; while in eastern Colorado they selection from 40 come 1000 feet deep. Soil water originates as precipitation that moves downward from the earth’s surface until that reaches the watersaturated zone and becomes ground water. Aquifers might spread thousands of miles or might be in small, localized areas. Alluvial or tributary ground water moves v the aquifer, whereby it eventually joins a surface stream. Other aquifers room classified as nontributary because the soil water neither contributes to, no one draws from, a organic stream.

The quantity and also quality of easily accessible ground water is usually difficult to recognize prior come drilling due to the fact that underground geology varies and because regional ground water supplies and quality differ. Ground water quality in Colorado varieties from terrific in some of the deep aquifers to bad in several of the alluvial aquifers whereby surface and also ground water have been contaminated indigenous agriculture, industry, or urban development. The only reliable method to determine the suitability the a water supply because that drinking water is through a laboratory analysis for bacteria and chemical constituents.

Cutaway that a common private well and water it is provided system.

The lot of water acquired from a well deserve to vary exponentially over a brief distance early to alters in subsurface geology. In addition, wells can go dry throughout times of dryness or when an aquifer is over-pumped. Together a ascendancy of thumb, each human being in the family members requires 75 gallons that water per day to accomplish the straightforward human needs. For a common household, that means the well should produce a minimum of one-half gallon every minute (0.5 gpm) or 30 gallons every hour to it is in acceptable together a water supply. Wells that are low developing (How do I gain a well permit for mine property?

Contact the Office of the State engineer to use for a permit. Creates are accessible online at http://water.state.co.us/pubs/wellforms.asp. In most cases, a licensed water fine driller will help you fill out and also submit the forced paperwork. Once the type is completed and construction reports space filed with the State Engineer, most well patent are good for the life the the well and also do not must be renewed.

What is the difference between “exempt” and also “non-exempt” wells?

In simple terms, freed wells do not require an augmentation plan, while most non-exempt wells execute require an augmentation plan.

Most homeowner wells in Colorado are exempt. Exempt wells are not administered under the “first in time, an initial in right” priority system used to allocate water in our state. Exempt wells are generally minimal to 15 gpm and also require non-evaporative wastewater solution such as septic tanks and leach fields. It is normally presumed that these non-evaporative wastewater systems consume about 10 percent the the total water pumped. The remainder of the water is went back to the hydrologic system via percolation back to the floor water.

Are over there different types of freed wells?

Yes. The two most common varieties of freed wells because that homeowners are Household-Use only Wells and also Domestic and also Livestock Wells.

Household-Use only Wells: many private wells drilled ~ above or afterMay 8, 1972 ~ above properties much less than 35 acres are permitted for exempt household-use only. Water have the right to be used only inside the home. Water cannot be offered to irrigate lawns, gardens, windbreaks, livestock, or any other outside use.

Domestic and Livestock Wells: If you very own property that is 35 acres or larger, you have the right to usually obtain a domestic and also livestock well. Only one of these wells is allowed per parcel. The well might serve up to three single-family dwellings, irrigate one acre or much less of lawn and also garden, and provide water for domestic animals and livestock.

Water usage from exempt, residential wells in ~ designated floor water basins, the Denver Basin, and restricted areas ~ above the west Slope, may be much less restrictive than indicated above.

What is a non-exempt well?

Most non-exempt wells call for an augmentation plan. One augmentation plan is a plan to change stream depletions from water pumped from a non-exempt well. Most wells ~ above single-home residential properties room exempt and also do not need an augmentation plan. Water equipment on multi-home subdivisions frequently are non-exempt and also require an augmentation plan.

Why carry out non-exempt wells require an augmentation plan?

If you room a brand-new water user, her water legal rights are “junior” come existing “senior” water rights. Under Colorado law, an elderly rights have actually priority (first in time, an initial in right). Junior rights cannot eliminate water native the device if the removal will certainly impair the supply accessible to a senior right.

Ground water and also surface water room hydraulically connected. Pump water from a brand-new well might reduce the quantity of water obtainable to an elderly water legal rights holders, even if the senior right is using surface ar water and the junior appropriate is using ground water. To avoid this “injury” come the senior right, junior water users must have an augmentation plan. One augmentation plan is a plan to replace stream depletions native water pumped from the fine to protect against injury to senior rights. Depletions have to be changed in time, amount, and also location.

If you wish to download a non-exempt well, girlfriend will need an augmentation plan approved through the water court. Augmentation water regularly must be purchased, so typically water user establishments are created to develop and review augmentation plans. Most likely, girlfriend will should hire a water attorney and also a water source engineer to assist with the design and also approval of an augmentation plan.

I am purchasing a home with an currently well that is no registered. What sort of use is allowed?

Unregistered exempt wells in use prior to may 8, 1972 can be allowed for historical uses, that is, those supplies that were in place prior to May 8, 1972, if those uses are no better than those allowed for a domestic and livestock fine permit.

Exempt wells mounted on or after might 8, 1972 must have a permit. Wells drilled without permits after this day were installed illegally.

I to be purchasing a property with an exit well. What should I do?

The State Engineer’s Office has rules that require old wells that space no longer used to be appropriately plugged and abandoned. The existing owner has actually the duty to comply through these regulations.

The division of Water sources issued me a “household-use only” permit, yet the neighbors have permits that permit livestock water. Why can’t I acquire a domestic and also livestock fine permit?

The most most likely reason is that the neighbor’s fine was set up prior to might 8, 1972 and the livestock use was already in existence.

Are this rules the exact same everywhere?

These are general rules that space in place and also apply to much of Colorado, yet there are many exceptions. Exceptions encompass designated floor water containers in eastern Colorado and also the Denver container along the front Range. The Colorado ground Water the supervisory board administers water use in the designated basins.

How have the right to I gain a copy the my well permit?

To obtain a copy of a fine permit, call the documents section the the Colorado department of Water resources at (303) 866-3447 in between the hours of 10:00 a.m. And also 3:30 p.m. For finest service, have the well permit number, location of fine (quarter section, township, and range), initial owner who created the well, various other prior owners, or the subdivision lot and also block all set for the staff member for this reason they can quickly locate her well in the database.

How perform I choose a drilling contractor?

Ask her neighbors and also your homebuilder for recommendations. Be certain the contractor is license is granted in Colorado and also find out if recent customers are satisfied with the service provided. If you space still uncertain on exactly how to proceed, you can examine with the nearest Colorado division of Water resources branch office, or employee for the Colorado board of Examiners, in ~ (303) 866-3581.

Questions to ask once buying rural property:

If a well is present:When was the fine drilled?Is the well registered v the Colorado department of Water Resources?If drilled on or after may 8, 1972, to be the well properly permitted?May I check out the well permit, well completion report, and pump environment report?Is the permit for “household-use only” or for “domestic and also livestock use”?Who mounted the well?How deep is the well?Do you have actually a copy the the water top quality tests perform on the fine water?How countless gallons every minute (gpm) go the well produce?Is the fine at least 100 feet native a septic system leach field?If a fine is no present:Has anyone do the efforts to gain a well allow for the property?If a permit has actually been issued but a well has not been drilled, is the permit still valid?How deep have actually neighbors had to drill to get water?Have next-door neighbors had troubles with water quality?Is there room top top the residential property to download a well and a septic device separated by 100 feet?

Additional Information

For much more information on floor water and also your ideal to usage it, call Ground Water information at the Colorado division of Water resources at (303) 866-3587 in between 9:00 a.m. And also 4:00 p.m. A good deal of information is also easily accessible online in ~ http://water.state.co.us/groundwater/groundwater.asp.

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*E. Marx, former Colorado State college usmam.org farming specialist, Larimer County; R. Waskom, director, Colorado Water Institute and CSU Water Center; and also D. Wolfe, Office the the State Engineer.9/02. Amendment 12/13.

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