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Ground Water Administration 
DWR > Ground Water > Ground Water Administration

Ground Water administration and enforcement is one of the primary responsibilities of the Division of Water Resources, led by the State Engineer. By law, every new well in the state that diverts ground water must have a well permit. To obtain a permit, a person must file an application for approval of a permit with the State Engineer.  See our Well Permitting section for details. If the well falls within the Denver Basin or within a Designated Basinadditional rules may apply.  Additionally, for some Ground Water Basins and River Basins, special Use and Measurement Rules have been stipulated to meet interstate compact agreements and / or reduce the precipitous fall in ground water levels.  

Since 2009, the BUYER in a residential real estate transaction that includes the transfer of a registered/permitted residential well, is required to file a Change of Owner Name/Address form (GWS-11) to update contact information.  If a residential well does not have a well permit, the BUYER in the residential real estate transaction must submit an application to register/permit the well.  See the Information Sheet on HB 08-1014 for additional details.  Augmentation Plans and Substitute Water Supply Plans (SWSPs) are also outlined here, in case a well or a proposed development that plans to incorporate wells in its plans could affect senior water right holders. 

Our Surface Water Rights section will provide more information about Colorado Water Rights and the prior appropriation system.  You may also review related Colorado Revised Statutes (Title 37: Water and Irrigation), read the Guide to Well Permits, Water Rights, and Water Administration, or contact the Ground Water Information Desk at (303) 866-3587 Monday - Friday (9:00AM-4:00PM).