Is it Legal to Drill Your Own Well? A State by State Guide

Jeremiah Castelo Well Water 0 Comments

Share this Post

Congratulations. The idea of securing your own groundwater source has finally taken root and now you’re ready to start exploring the next steps.

But of course, the big question remains: is it even legal to dig or drill a water well in my area? What permits, if any, would I need to obtain to do so?

The short answer is that water rights are mostly handled at the state level.

And while some states only allow licensed well contractors to perform any type of drilling at all, many states will allow a homeowner to dig a private well on his/her own property as long as a permit is applied for and approved.

Since some states further relegate water governance to local public health jurisdictions, one should ALWAYS check with their county and city legislature for any additional regulations that may need to be adhered to.

The truth is that US water law can be a bit complicated depending on the region. This is because water availability varies from state to state, hence the reason why water rights are handled on the state level and not federally.

In this article, we’ll give an overview of some basic groundwater laws to help you better understand how to approach your water well project from a legally-sound perspective.

We’ll explain the difference between shallow and deep wells, and the best method and tools to dig your own private well.

Finally, we’ll cover the basic legislature for each state so you can find out if it’s legal to drill your own well in your area. We’ll find out whether or not a permit is needed and how to apply for one if so.

***This article is intended to provide an overview of general groundwater laws as express in recent state legislature and is not to be taken as legal advice. For a more detailed review of state groundwater laws, consult with your state official or a legal professional.***


Groundwater Law Doctrines



Image


Because US water law is a broad and nuanced topic, we’ll cover some of the most important tenets that will help you better understand groundwater rights in your region.

As the topography of the United States varies greatly from one coast to another, so does water availability. Because of this, Eastern states, where water is more abundant, follow different water laws than the more arid Western states.

Groundwater law is handled a bit differently than surface water and rainwater law. And determining water "ownership" can be tricky when underground aquifers often extend beyond private property lines.

As such, we'll have a look at five of the most common groundwater law doctrines that states follow in order to best determine the rightful distribution and usage of the water below.

Doctrine of Absolute Dominion

Also known as the "English Rule," this doctrine allows the landowner to pump as much water from the aquifer that exists underneath their property as they see fit, regardless of the impact it may have on others who may share the same aquifer. Naturally, the Absolute Dominion doctrine benefits water well owners with the largest and most powerful pumping system as there would be no restriction on how much water can be drawn.

Many states have moved away from this doctrine as it incentivizes industries to pump large amounts of water while disregarding the groundwater levels. But for private property owners in regions where water groundwater is more abundant, this doctrine is certainly the least restrictive. States that continue to use the Absolute Dominion doctrine are Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Rhode Island, Texas, and Vermont.

Doctrine of Reasonable Use

The Reasonable Use doctrine, also known as the "American Rule," is a variation of the Absolute Dominion doctrine. A property owner may have access to all the groundwater underneath his/her property as long as it is used "reasonably" and doesn't greatly affect the rights of those who may share the same aquifer.

The word "reasonable" can be interpreted differently between states but the underlying principle is that neighbors who share the same groundwater source should be able to enjoy it responsibly and without excessive wasting. This generally covers most household uses such as gardening, livestock use, and indoor use.

With groundwater levels becoming increasingly precarious and with population increasing across the country, many states have adopted the Reasonable Use doctrine as a way of balancing water rights and water availability.

States that follow the Reasonable Use doctrine are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Doctrine of Prior Appropriation

Also known as the "first come, first serve" doctrine, Prior Appropriation is one of the oldest water doctrines in the United States, dating back to the 19th-century gold rush era.

This doctrine states that the first person to utilize the groundwater source holds primary rights to it. Many states have either moved away from this doctrine or modified it to resemble a more "Reasonable Use" approach.

States that follow the Prior Appropriation doctrine are Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Doctrine of Correlative Rights

The main principle behind the Correlative Rights doctrine is that landowners directly above the aquifer and those who wish to divert groundwater have equal access to it as determined by the courts. This doctrine is especially used in regions where groundwater is scarce and must be appropriated equally.

States that follow the Correlative Rights doctrine are Arkansas, California, Iowa, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Nebraska.

Doctrine of Restatement of Torts

The Restatement of Torts doctrine is seen as a hybrid of the Absolute Dominion and Reasonable Use doctrines. Its governing principle is that the landowner who uses the water for a beneficial purpose is not subject to liability for interference as long as a reasonable share of the total store of groundwater is not exceeded.

States that follow the Restatement of Torts doctrine are Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

How to Apply These Doctrines

Each state follows at least one of, a variation of, or a hybridization of two or more of these doctrines.

As a private well owner, the one doctrine that almost always applies to you, regardless of which state you live in, is the Reasonable Use doctrine.

This states that you are free to reasonably use your well on your own property as long as it doesn’t unreasonably affect the usage of others who may be drawing water from the same aquifer and as long as your usage isn't excessively wasteful. So, drawing just enough water to supply your home, garden, and anything else for personal use is considered "reasonable."

As long as this principle is followed, you'll be in compliance with most groundwater laws across the board.






Digging Your Own Well



Image

The USGS splits wells into either shallow or deep categories. A shallow well is a well with a water table of less than 25-30 feet deep and can be accessed with relatively simple equipment. If you’re considering digging your own well, you'll need to find out with your local water resources department to see if you'll have any luck with hitting a shallow water table.

Deep wells can reach depths of 300 feet and beyond and will require professional contractors with drilling rigs and heavy equipment. Unless you’re a licensed driller yourself, you’ll need to hire a contractor for deep wells.

But if you’ve familiarized yourself with the water table in your region and are pretty certain you can hit water at less than 25-30 feet, then you'll just need to find out if your state will let you do it.

Permits, licenses, and water rights

Water laws can get a bit complicated so it's helpful to have an understanding of the basic terms before inquiring with your state and county agencies. This section will explain the differences between state-issued permits, professional licenses, and water rights.

Permit

A permit is a temporary authorization from the state or county agency to allow a person to dig a water well within specified guidelines. While most states require that an individual file for a permit prior to digging a well on their property, some local counties also require special permits in addition to a state permit.

Applications for permits are usually filed with the state's Water Resources or Environmental Quality department and often require a fee. Information such as the well depth and type, and the amount and purpose of water being used are often asked for.

License

A license differs from a permit in that a license is a state-issued warrant that water well contractors carry in order to perform their professional duties. A license requires a certain amount of education, training, and testing — which is then issued by a state board.

If a state requires a license for a well to be drilled, it is often because there are precarious groundwater conditions that need to be professionally handled, and/or the water table is far too deep for an unlicensed property owner to dig on their own.

If your state requires a license for well drilling, the best approach is to contact a licensed well contractor for the next steps. They'll often handle all the permits requirements that the state and county may have.

Water Rights

Some states, especially those that follow the Absolute Dominion and Prior Appropriation doctrines, require that property owners have the appropriate water rights in order to drill or dig a well. Water rights don't necessarily come with property rights so it's best to inquire with the state first.

Some water rights can be purchased and others need to be grandfathered in. If your state requires water rights, check with their water resource records to see if you already have them or, if not, how you can obtain them.


What you need to do

  • It is important not to assume that you can drill or dig a well on your own property without a permit, license, or water right but to check with your state's water jurisdiction. Each state handles groundwater regulations differently.
  • Always check with local county and city agencies for further permit requirements as well—some smaller municipalities may have specific requirements in addition to state requirements.
  • While the majority of states allow for private well-digging with the approval of a permit, a handful of states restrict digging ONLY to licensed professional contractors. In these cases, the permit is usually filled and managed by the contractor using the information provided by the property owner.
  • There are a handful of states that don't require a permit or license, but it is still best practice to check for guidelines that must be adhered to.










    Groundwater Laws for Each State



    Image

    The information gathered in the list was taken from official state websites and were up to date at the time of publishing this article.

    You'll see whether your state requires a permit, a license, or water rights to drill your own well, as well as the primary water doctrine the state follows. You'll find links to the official state website, documents published by the governing body, and lists of licensed well contractors where applicable.

    We'll do our best to update this section regularly as water laws can change quickly. Be sure to inquire with your state official for the final word.




    Image

    Alabama

    • Well driller's license required
    • Primary doctrine: Reasonable Use

    The Alabama Department of Environmental Management declares that only licensed drillers may construct a well. As stated in their Water Well Standards Program:

    "Every person who proposes to drill a water well in the State of Alabama shall file, on or before September 30 of each year, an application for a water well driller's license, along with a payment of the annual fee of $200.00."

    A property owner will need to start the well construction process by contacting a licensed well driller.

    Links:


    Image


    Alaska

    • Water rights required
    • Primary doctrine: Prior Appropriation

    Alaska's Division of Environmental Health declares that homeowners can access the groundwater underneath them as long as they own the water rights to do so.

    Water rights aren't automatically given to landowners as soon as they obtain property but must be applied for through the Dept. of Natural Resources.

    The application for a water right is $100 for one single-family residence.

    Links:


    Image


    Arizona

    • Notice of intent required
    • License required for non-exempt wells
    • Primary doctrine: Reasonable Use

    The State of Arizona requires anyone attempting to drill a well to file for a Notice of Intent. As stated by the Department of Water Resources:

    "Prior to drilling a new well, or deepening or modifying an existing well, a Notice of Intent to Drill must be filed with ADWR. Forms are available on this site and must be submitted to ADWR accompanied by the appropriate filing fee."

    According to Arizona State Legislature, some wells may be exempt from providing a driller's license to construct a well if the maximum capacity of the well is less than 35 gallons per minute and is only used for residential purposes.

    Be sure to contact the county and city agencies for any additional permits that may be required even if the well is considered exempt by the state.

    Links:


    Image


    Arkansas

    • Contractor's license required
    • Certificate of registration required
    • Fee: $200
    • Primary doctrines: Reasonable Use, Correlative Rights

    According to the State of Arkansas Dept. of Agriculture:

    "Any individual drilling a water well or installing a water well pump in Arkansas must possess both an Arkansas Water Well Contractor’s License and an Arkansas Certificate of Registration in Water Well Drilling or Pump Installation. An individual planning to both drill wells and install pumps must obtain both Certificates of Registration."

    The Water Well Construction Commission does have a notice where some instances may warrant exemption from these rules. But permission would still need to be requested from the commission.

    Links:


    Image


    California

    • Permit required, filed with County
    • Primary doctrine: Correlative Rights

    The California Department of Water Resources allows local agencies to manage their own groundwater requirements rather than regulating them from the state level.

    In most counties, regardless of whether the well is dug by the landowner or by licensed contractors, a permit will need to be applied for and approved by the local jurisdiction.

    Links:


    Image


     Colorado

    • Permit required
    • Primary doctrine: Prior Appropriation

    The Colorado Dept. of Water Resources issues separate permits for well construction and groundwater usage depending on the proposed need.

    Permits deemed "household use only" are limited to wells on less than 35 acres of land and not intended for livestock watering.

    Permits deemed "domestic use" are given to wells on land greater than 35 acres and with the intention of using for livestock purposes.

    Commercial wells require a different permit entirely.

    Contact the Water Resources Department to determine what type of permit would be required to construct a well on your property.

    Links:


    Image


    Connecticut

    • License required
    • Permit required
    • Fee: $5
    • Primary doctrine: Absolute Dominion

    The construction of private wells is regulated by the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection which requires that all well drillers be licensed and registered with the state. Section 25-130 of the Well Drilling Code states:

    "Before commencing work on any water-supply well, the registered well driller shall apply to the board for a permit to drill such well. A fee of five dollars shall accompany such application."

    Local county and city health departments may have further regulations and permit requirements for private wells in each region and should be contacted prior to construction.

    After a well has been constructed, the property owner is responsible for testing and maintaining the quality of their drinking water.

    Links:


    Image


    Delaware

    • Permit required
    • License required
    • Primary doctrine: Reasonable Use

    Water well construction in Delaware is managed by the Dept. of Natural Resources and Environmental Control which requires a permit for all well construction activities. In addition to the permit requirement, anyone who drills a well must be licensed by the DNREC.

    The Well Permit Branch states:

    "All wells in Delaware must be constructed by a water well contractor licensed by DNREC. Applications for well construction and well use permits must be completed by a licensed water well contractor."

    Links:


    Image


    Florida

    • License not required for wells < 2" diameter
    • Inquire with County for permits
    • Primary doctrine: Reasonable Use

    Florida State Legislature requires all well contractors to possess a valid license to construct or repair wells.

    However, as stated by Section 373.326 of the Water Resources Code, homeowners who construct a well of less than two-inches in diameter may do so without a license.

    Permits may still be required by local county agencies.

    Links:


    Image


     Georgia

    • Permit from EPD required
    • License from Public Health required
    • Primary doctrine: Absolute Dominion

    The Georgia Department of Public Health requires all well construction to be done by a licensed well contractor. Permits are applied for through the Environmental Protection Division.

    Links:


    Image


    Hawaii

    • Permit required
    • Primary doctrine: Correlative Rights

    The State of Hawaii requires permits to be obtained from the Commission on Water Resources for private well construction.

    Links:


    Image


    Idaho

    • License required
    • Primary doctrine: Prior Appropriation

    Idaho law requires all well construction to be performed by a licensed well contractor. Drilling licenses are applied for through the Dept of Water Resources.

    Links:


    Image


    Illinois

    • License not required for driven wells on private property
    • Primary doctrine: Reasonable Use

    In the State of Illinois, wells constructed by a drilling rig must be done by licensed contractors. However, a license is not required for homeowners installing a driven well on their property. A permit may still be required by the county agency.

    Links:


    Image


      Indiana

    • License required
    • Primary doctrine: Absolute Dominion

    The State of Indiana requires anyone who digs or drills a well to be licensed with the Department of Natural Resources. As such, non-licensed individuals may not dig a well on their property.

    Links:


    Image


      Iowa

    • License required
    • Primary doctrine: Correlative Rights

    The State of Iowa requires that homeowners who wish to have a private well installed on their property hire a certified well contractor. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources provides a list of certified contractors which you can choose from.

    Iowa has a strict list of construction standards that licensees are trained to adhere to.

    Links:


    Image


     Kansas

    • License required
    • Primary doctrine: Prior Appropriation

    Well Water is managed by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and requires all well drillers to be licensed.

    The Well Water Program homepage provides a lot of useful information on finding contractors as well as application forms and guides.

    Links:


    Image


      Kentucky

    • License required to construct well
    • Primary doctrine: Reasonable Use

    In Kentucky, property owners aren't required to file for a well drilling permit but must hire a certified well driller to construct the well.

    Links:


    Image


      Louisiana

    • License required
    • Primary doctrine: Absolute Dominion

    The State of Louisiana requires that all wells be installed by a licensed contractor. Information on well regulations and licensing can be found on the Office of Conservation's website.

    Links:


    Image


      Maine

    • License required
    • Primary doctrine: Absolute Dominion

    The Maine Well Water Commission requires any individual who drills or digs a well to be licensed.

    Links:


    Image


      Maryland

    • License required
    • Permit required
    • Primary doctrine: Reasonable Use

    The Maryland Geological Survey requires that all wells be constructed by a licensed well driller after a permit is obtained from the MD Dept. of the Environment.

    Once the well is constructed, the well driller must submit a well-completion report to the County health department.

    Links:


    Image


      Massachusetts

    • License required
    • Primary doctrine: Absolute Dominion

    According to Massachusetts State Law, all wells must be drilled by a licensed well driller. The website for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts offers information on private well ownership and well drilling guidelines.

    Links:


    Image


      Michigan

    • Permit required from local health department
    • Primary doctrine: Reasonable Use

    In the State of Michigan, the local county health departments are the responsible agency for issuing permits for private well drilling. Inquire with your health department for a permits and regulations.

    Links:


    Image


     Minnesota

    • License or permit not required for drive-point well
    • Primary doctrine: Absolute Dominion

    Minnesota Law states that an individual may install a drive-point well on his/her own property as long as it's done in accordance with the statutes.

    After construction, a notification must be sent to the County office where inspection and final approval are carried out.

    Links:


    Image


      Mississippi

    • License required
    • Permit required
    • Primary doctrine: Absolute Dominion

    The Office of Land and Water Resources requires all water well drilling in the state of Mississippi to be completed by a licensed driller.

    A permit from the Dept. of Environmental Quality will also need to be filed.

    Links:


    Image


    Missouri

    • Permit not required for private property owners
    • Primary doctrine: Reasonable Use

      Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources requires that all contracted drillers who charge a fee for their services have a permit to construct a well. However, landowners are exempt from obtaining a permit for digging a well on their own property as long as all well regulations are adhered to.

      Links:


      Image


       Montana

      • Permit not required for certain private wells
      • Primary doctrine: Prior Appropriation

      The Montana Department of Natural Resources requires licenses and permits from contractors who install wells. However, the Board of Water Well Contractors states that under some special circumstances, a permit may not be required when digging a private well on one's own property. Contact the Montana DNR to find out if your well may be exempt from requiring a permit.

      Water rights may still be required in some counties.

      Links:


      Image


       Nebraska

      • Wells must be registered with DNR
      • License not required for drilling on one's own property
      • Primary doctrine: Reasonable Use

      The State of Nebraska rests on the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest aquifer in the United States. Due to its widespread use as a valuable resource, all water well owners must register their well with the Dept. of Natural Resources.

      Nebraska Well Water Standards states that well drillers must be licensed by the state. The exception to this rule is that an unlicensed person may dig a well on their own property as long as all regulations are met. A permit may still be required and can be filed with your particular Natural Resources District.

      Links:


      Image


       Nevada

      • Licensed required
      • Primary doctrine: Prior Appropriation

      Under Nevada law, domestic water well owners are not required to file for a water rights permit if their well draws less than 1,800 gallons of water per day. However, all water well drilling must be done by a licensed well driller who will file drilling logs with the State Engineer within 30 days of construction.

      Links:


      Image


        New Hampshire

      • License required
      • Primary doctrine: Reasonable Use

      Water well contractors in New Hampshire must be licensed by the Well Water Board. The Department of Environmental Services, the agency responsible for governing water use in the state, has some stipulations regarding groundwater use.

      Links:


      Image


        New Jersey

      • License required to drill
      • Primary doctrine: Correlative Rights

      The New Jersey Division of Water Supply states that only licensed well drillers are permitted to install and service wells in the state.

      Links:


      Image


        New Mexico

      • Licensed required
      • Permit required
      • Primary doctrine: Prior Appropriation

      New Mexico state law stipulates that only licensed well drillers may install a well. Additionally, a permit is required to drill a well which can be obtained from the Office of State Engineer.

      Links:


      Image


        New York

      • License required to drill
      • Primary doctrine: Reasonable Use

      All contracted drillers in the State of New York must be registered with the Department of Environmental Conservation prior to constructing a well.

      The licensed contractor will notify the DEC prior to drilling and file a Water Well Completion Report upon completion. A copy of this report must also be given to the owner of the water well.

      All well water standards are determined by the New York Department of Health.

      Links:


      Image


       North Carolina

      • Permit required
      • Primary doctrine: Reasonable Use

      North Carolina requires homeowners to acquire a permit from their county in order to install a private well on their property. Inquire with your local county for permit requirements and fees for private water well drilling.

      Links:


      Image


        North Dakota

      • Permit not required for private wells
      • Primary doctrine: Prior Appropriation

      The North Dakota State Water Commission requires a permit for wells that draw over 4,073,000 gallons of water per year. Private wells that draw less than that do not require a permit for construction.

      Links:


      Image


       Ohio

      • Permit required
      • Primary doctrine: Restatement of Torts

      The Ohio Administrative Code states "No person shall construct, alter or seal a private water system, test well or part thereof, unless a valid permit for the system has been issued by the board of health pursuant to this rule".

      Homeowners who want to construct their own well are required to register with the Department of Health.

      Links:


      Image


       Oklahoma

      • License required
      • Primary doctrine: Reasonable Use

      The Oklahoma Water Resources Board requires all watwell drillers to be licensed in order to install a well in the State of Oklahoma.

      Links:


      Image


       Oregon

      • Permit not required
      • License not required
      • Primary doctrine: Prior Appropriation

      Oregon State Law requires all groundwater use to be permitted by the Water Resources Department except when meeting the criteria of exemption under ORS 537.545. These exemptions include, "single or group domestic purposes in an amount not exceeding 15,000 gallons a day".

      The Water Resources Department strongly recommends that homeowners hire a licensed well contractor to drill and install a water well system, however, property owners may construct their own as long as state regulations are adhered to.

      Links:


      Image


       Pennsylvania

      • License not required for property owners
      • Primary doctrine: Reasonable Use

      The Department of Environmental Protection does not regulate private residential wells, however, they strongly recommend hiring a licensed well driller for well construction.

      According to 17 PA Code Chapter 47, all contracted well drillers are required to be licensed but homeowners drilling on their own property are not required to be licensed.

      The property owner should still inquire with county and city agencies for permit requirements.

      Links:


      Image


        Rhode Island

      • License not required for private water well owners
      • Primary doctrine: Absolute Dominion

      The Rhode Island Department of Health puts the responsibility of the homeowner for testing and maintaining their own well. All water well contractors in the State of Rhode Island are required to be licensed. However, homeowners are allowed to construct a private well on their own property without a license as long as all regulations are met.

      Rhode Island General Laws, Section 46-13.2-7, states:

      "A landowner may construct his or her own well to provide water for the consumption by himself or herself, his or her family, pets, livestock, or for farming of his or her land where the water obtained shall not be intended for use by the general public or in any residence other than the landowner's, and the landowner shall not be required to be registered under § 46-13.2-4, but must submit a well installation report as required by § 46-13.2-5 and comply with all regulations and codes of construction adopted under this chapter and section 23-27.3 and comply as applicable with requirements of § 23-1-5.3".

      Links:


      Image


       South Carolina

      • License not required when drilling on one's own property
      • Permit required from Department of Health and Environmental Control
      • Primary doctrine: Reasonable Use

      The State of South Carolina requires well drillers to be licensed, however, exemptions are given to homeowners who wish to drill a well on their own property given they adhere to state regulations.

      While property owners are required to obtain a permit and file a notice of intent with the DHEC prior to constructio0n.

      Links:


      Image


       South Dakota

      • Permit not required for domestic use
      • Primary doctrine: Prior Appropriation

      The South Dakota Department of Natural Resources requires a permit for all surface and groundwater use except for domestic use not exceeding 25,920 gallons per day.

      Domestic use is classified as:

      • drinking, washing, sanitary, and culinary uses by an individual or household
      • irrigation of a noncommercial garden, trees, etc. not exceeding one acre in size
      • stock watering
      • 18 gallons per minute for use in schools, parks, and public recreation areas
      Links:


      Image


        Tennessee

      • License required
      • Primary doctrine: Correlative Rights

      Under the Well Water Act of  1963, the State of Tennessee requires all who drill a well to be licensed.

      Links:


      Image


        Texas

      • License not required when drilling no one's own property
      • Primary doctrine: Absolute Dominion

      The State of Texas doesn't require homeowners to be licensed in order to drill a well on their own property. Property owners must check with their Groundwater Conservation District for specific water well guidelines for their region.

      Links:


      Image


        Utah

      • Licensed not required for private wells less than 30 feet deep
      • Water rights required
      • Primary doctrine: Prior Appropriation

      The Utah State Engineer does not require a license for a property owner to drill his/her own well if the depth is less than 30 feet.

      Before drilling can be done, a water right must be obtained by the property owner.

      Links:


      Image


        Vermont

      • License required
      • Primary doctrine: Reasonable Use

      According to the Vermont Well Driller Licensing Rule, all individuals engaging in the act of drilling a well must be licensed by the Commission.

      Links:


      Image


        Virginia

      • Permits and Licenses required by local health districts
      • Primary doctrine: Reasonable Use

      The State of Virginia determines groundwater laws are managed by each local health district. While most counties require a permit and license for water well drilling, each local district should be inquired with for further details.

      Links:


      Image


        Washington

      • License not required for property owners
      • Primary doctrine: Reasonable Use

      The State of Washington requires all water well drillers to obtain an operator's license from the Department of Ecology. An exception to this rule is when a property owner wishes to drill a well on his/her own property for consumptive uses no more than once every two years.



      Image


       West Virginia

      • Permit and License required
      • Primary doctrine: Reasonable Use

      Residents of West Virginia must obtain a permit from their local Health Department prior to having a well constructed. Furthermore, all well construction must be done by a licensed well driller.

      Links:


      Image


       Wisconsin

      • License not required for drilling
      • License required for pump installation
      • Primary doctrine: Restatement of Torts

      Wisconsin does not require a license to install a driven-point well, however, only a licensed pump installer may install the pump.

      Links:


      Image


       Wyoming

      • License not required when drilling on one's own property
      • Permit required by Engineer's Office
      • Primary doctrine: Prior Appropriation

      The Wyoming Water Well Contractors Licensing Board requires that all water well drillers have a license when constructing a well. An exception to this is when drilling is done on one's own property.

      The Engineer's Office will require a permit for water well construction on private property and has strict standards to adhere to.





      Thank you for taking the time to read our article on answering the question: is it legal to drill your own well? We'd love to hear your feedback in the comments section below. If you've found this article to be useful and are interested in learning more, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.

      Share this post!

      Read Also

      References

      https://www.watersystemscouncil.org/download/wellcare_information_sheets/other_information_sheets/1836033IN_WHO_OWNS.PDF

      Do you own your well water? (2012, October 15). American Ground Water Trust. https://agwt.org/content/do-you-own-your-well-water

      Grit. (n.d.). Grit. https://www.grit.com/farm-and-garden/do-it-yourself/dig-your-own-water-well-zm0z18mjzmcg/

      Groundwater law. (n.d.). Water Education Foundation. https://www.watereducation.org/aquapedia-background/groundwater-law

      (n.d.). The National Agricultural Law Center. https://nationalaglawcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Who-Owns-the-Water-2016-Update-FINAL.pdf

      State well codes. (n.d.). https://www.watersystemscouncil.org/state-well-codes/

      Water law overview. (2021, January 12). National Agricultural Law Center. https://nationalaglawcenter.org/overview/water-law/

      Water rights by state - The guide for agriculture & land professionals. (2021, January 25). AQUAOSO. https://aquaoso.com/water-rights/

      Water rights definition. (n.d.). Investopedia. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/w/water-rights.asp

      Well regulations. (2012, October 18). American Ground Water Trust. https://agwt.org/content/well-regulations

      I'm Jeremiah Castelo, the owner of World Water Reserve. I'm a writer and researcher with a particular interest in sustainability and rural living, water scarcity, and innovative water purification methods. I utilize my multimedia and communication experience in the NGO and humanitarian fields to bring light to important topics. My passion is to educate others on the reality of the global water crisis and on ways to sustain themselves and their families in the midst of it.
      Jeremiah Castelo

      Leave a Comment