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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

Colorado Water Well Permit (19-CO-d)

In Colorado, by law every new well, not otherwise exempt, which diverts groundwater from areas outside of the boundaries of a designated groundwater basin must obtain a well permit. The Colorado Division of Water Resources issues water well permits under C.R.S. 37-90-137 and 2 C.C.R. 402-7 - Non-tributary Ground Water Rules.


Water Well Permit Process

19-CO-d.1 – Well Permit Application for New Well or Changed Use; Associated Documents

The standard well permit application is General Purpose Water Permit Application (GWS-45).

The Well Permit Application must include:

  • The name, mailing address, and telephone number of the applicant (developer);
  • The name of the owner of the land on which the well will be located;
  • The district court and case number of any applications or decrees for a determination of a right to the groundwater, which is sought to be withdrawn from the well;
  • The location of the proposed well by legal description;
  • The requested average annual amount of water in acre-feet per year;
  • The proposed maximum pumping rate in gallons per minute;
  • The proposed beneficial use of the water;
  • The proposed total depth of the well;
  • The source aquifer;
  • The listing of any other wells or water rights on the subject party;
  • The legal description and the number of acres of overlying land or an alternate description in areas of the state that are not surveyed; and
  • The name and license number of the Colorado licensed water well contractor or name of the private driller.

2 C.C.R. 402-7 Rule 5(A); C.R.S. 37-90-137(1), Permits to Construct Wells Outside Designated Basins; General Purpose Water Permit Application (GWS-45).

Additionally, the applicant (developer) must submit any geologic or hydrologic data available that support the application. General Purpose Water Permit Application (GWS-45); 2 C.C.R. 402-7 Rule 5(B).

If the applicant (developer) owns the overlying land, the applicant (developer) must execute a statement that the overlying land is owned by the applicant (developer) and that the groundwater in the particular aquifer has not been conveyed or reserved to another, nor consent given to its withdrawal by another. If the applicant (developer) claims consent of the owner of the overlying land, the applicant (developer) must submit a statement on a form supplied by the State Engineer stating whether consent is claimed in one of the following ways:

  • If the applicant (developer) relies on C.R.S. 37-90-137(4)(b)(II)(A), written consent from the owner to the applicant (developer) and evidence of the ownership of the land by a statement from the landowner. The written consent must be a copy of the deed or recorded document where the land is located;
  • If the applicant (developer) relies on C.R.S. 37-90-137(4)(b()(II)(B), a certified copy of the ordinance or resolution and a copy of the water court application certified by the water court; or
  • If the applicant (developer) relies on C.R.S. 37-90-137(4)(b)(II)(C), a certified copy of the ordinance or resolution and a certified copy of a detailed map showing the land area as to which consent is deemed to have been given as required by C.R.S. 37-90-137(8).

2 C.C.R. 402-7 Rule 5(C).

The applicant (developer) must also provide to the State Engineer evidence that the applicant (developer) has given notice of the application by registered or certified mail, no less than ten (10) days prior to submitting the application, to every record owner of the overlying land and to every person who has a lien or mortgage upon, or deed of trust, to the overlying land recorded in the county in which the overlying land is located. 2 C.C.R. 402-7 Rule 5(D)-(E); C.R.S. 37-90-137.

The State Engineer must endorse upon the application the date of its receipt and make a record of the receipt of the application. 2 C.C.R. 402-7 Rule 5(E); C.R.S. 37-90-137.

19-CO-d.2 to 19-CO-d.3 – Are Any Wells Located Within 600 Feet of the Proposed Location?

The State Engineer notifies the owners of all wells located within six hundred feet of the proposed well by certified mail. 2 C.C.R. 402-7 Rule 11; C.R.S. 37-90-137(2)(b)(I).

19-CO-d.4 – Hold Hearing (If Applicable)

The State Engineer holds a hearing on the Well Permit Application. The State Engineer does not have to hold a hearing if, after the State Engineer notifies the owner of all wells within six hundred feet of the proposed well, the State Engineer receives no response from any of the well owners within the time specified in the notice. C.R.S. 37-90-137(2)(b)(II); 2 CCR 410-1 § 5.3.7.

Additionally, no hearing is required if the proposed well is part of a water court proceeding, adjudicating the water right for the well, or if the proposed well is part of an adjudication of a plan of augmentation or change of water right and evidence is provided to the water court that the applicant (developer) has given notice of the water court application, at least fourteen (14) days prior to submitting the application, to all wells within six hundred feet of the proposed well. C.R.S. 37-90-137(2)(b)(II)(B).

19-CO-d.5 – Does the State Engineer Approve the Well Permit Application?

The State Engineer must act on a Well Permit Application within forty-five (45) days of receipt. C.R.S. 37-90-137(2)(d)(II).The State Engineer may only approve an application if the State Engineer finds:

  • As substantiated by hydrological and geological facts, that there is unappropriated water available for withdrawal by the proposed well and that the vested water rights of other will not be materially injured and;
  • The location of the proposed well will be more than six hundred feet from an existing well, unless the State Engineer finds after a hearing, the circumstances so warrant or a court decree is entered for the proposed well location after notice is given to the well owners within six hundred feet.

C.R.S. 37-90-137(2)(b)(I).

19-CO-d.6 – Denied Application and Findings of the State Engineer

If the State Engineer denies the Well Permit Application, the State Engineer mails a copy of the denied application with a copy of the Findings of the State Engineer to the applicant (developer). 2 C.C.R. 402-7 Rule 6(B).

19-CO-d.7 – Well Permit

If the Well Permit Application meets the requirements of C.R.S. 37-90-137(4) and other applicable rules and regulations, the State Engineer issues a well permit, subject to appropriate terms and conditions placed on the permit. 2 C.C.R. 402-7 Rule 6(A). Also, note if the developer uses the well for a replacement water plan (Plan for Augmentation), the State Engineer will not approve the plan as a Substitute Water Supply Plan unless the developer provides evidence of the well permit and that the developer has put the well to beneficial use. For more information, see:

Substitute Water Supply Plan:
19-CO-f

19-CO-d.8 – Well Construction and Test Report (Form GWS-31; Pump Installation and Test Report (Form GWS-32)

If a well is completed for which a valid permit exists, the developer must submit the following information on a form prescribed by the State Engineer ( Form GWS-31), along with other information required as a condition on the well permit, including:

  • The permit number;
  • The name, mailing address, and phone number of the applicant (developer);
  • The well location;
  • The date completed;
  • The name and license number of the water well contractor; and
  • Other information, including, but not limited to, the results of specific yield tests that are required as a condition of approval on the permit.

Form GWS-31; 2 C.C.R. 402-7 Rule 7(A).

Additionally, the licensed water well contractor and/or pump installer must submit to the State Engineer, the pump installation and test report information ( Form GWS-32) required by CRS 37-90-138 and 37-90-101 to 112, information required by the Rules and Regulations of the State Board of Examiners of Water Well Construction and Pump Installation Contractors, and any information required of the water well contractor or pump installer by the Water Well Permit. 2 C.C.R. 402-7 Rule 7(B).

If the developer will not construct the well prior to the expiration of the permit, the developer may submit a request for an extension to the State Engineer on or before the date of expiration. The Request for Extension must include:

  • The permit number;
  • The name, mailing address, and phone number of the applicant (developer);
  • The estimated completion date of the well;
  • A statement of good cause showing why the well has not been completed; and
  • A payment of $25.00.

2 C.C.R. 402-7 Rule 7(D).




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