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Ground Water Administration and Well Permitting 
DWR > Ground Water
Picture of Old Well Crew digging 

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 Forms). Over 10,000 applications are submitted for review annually and the staff of the State Engineer evalutes the applications under strict statutory guidelines. The division, in cooperation with various local ground water management districts, operates a statewide network for monitoring ground water levels.

The division, in cooperation with various local ground water management districts, operates a statewide network for monitoring ground water levels. Over 1,500 wells are measured to assist in projecting ground water levels and to aid in the administration of ground water. This information is available through the water level measurement reports (monitoring reports) issued each year.

The State Engineer also provides staff to assist in technical support to the Colorado Ground Water Commission, in the exercise of its duties in the Designated Basins, generally located on the eastern plains of Colorado. Well permits for wells located in these basins are evaluated by the staff of the State Engineer based on the Commission Rules.

Further, the State Engineer provides staff assistance for the Board of Examiners of Water Well and Pump Installation Contractors. This board oversees the safe and proper installation of well pump equipment, and regulates the proper, safe construction of wells throughout the state.

For more information, read the Guide to Well Permits, Water Rights, and Water Administration, or contact the Ground Water Information Desk at (303) 866-3587.