The State Engineer is tasked with maximizing the beneficial use of the limited water in the state and promoting reliable water supplies. Groundwater, withdrawn through wells, is an integral part of Colorado’s water supply. In order to administer the thousands of wells in Colorado, the State Engineer issues and maintains permits that limit the use of each well pursuant to the Colorado Revised Statutes.
By law, every new or replacement well in the state that diverts groundwater must have a well permit. To obtain a permit, a person must file an application with the State Engineer; these applications are evaluated pursuant to statutory guidelines.
The Division of Water Resources accepts applications by email, and associated fees can be paid online. Information concerning related costs for permitting and submittal process can be found below.
To ask a specific question about your particular situation, please use the AskDWR form at the bottom of this page.
The Division of Water Resources (DWR) has several types of well permit application forms to assist you in obtaining a permit to construct a new or replacement well, or to register an existing well. Using the correct form will greatly assist you in obtaining the documentation you require to proceed with the construction or replacement of a well in a timely fashion. For more information, please see the new Beginner's Guide to Well Permits or the Applications eForms Dashboard link.
If the well falls within the Denver Basin or within a Designated Basin, additional rules may apply. These rules are available at the bottom of this page. Additionally, for some Groundwater Basins and River Basins, special Use and Measurement Rules apply. These rules are available under Services, Well Metering subpages in the top navigation.
DWR will act upon emergency requests for well permit approval for some replacement well situations, some location changes, and some changes in source/aquifer. See the document, Emergency Well Permit Procedures below for additional information.
Information on all registered well permits can be found through our Well Permit Search Tool and our Map Viewer Tools that are linked on this page. The well permit file will contain the allowable uses of the well, the original permit application, and any available well construction and pump installation records.
The Division of Water Resources does not perform water quality testing or maintain water quality records. Prior to purchasing a property with a well and on a continuing basis, consider having the well water tested by a state-certified laboratory. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment can provide guidance on this process.
Designated Basins Rules 7.4.1 and 7.10 (2CCR-410-1)
The Ground Water Commission has initiated the process to possibly amend the Rules and Regulations for the Management and Control of Designated Groundwater in response to a petition submitted by the Plains Ground Water Management District. The petition requests amendment of Rule 220.127.116.11, and any associated Rules that deal with excluding years from historical evaluations, so as to eliminate from a historical use analysis those years a well is in a conservation plan approved by a Ground Water Management District. A copy of the petition is available on the FTP website using the link given below.
Following an initial public meeting concerning the petition held on March 4, 2021, Staff of the Commission drafted proposed amendments to Rules 7.4.1 and 7.10 and a proposed Statement of Basis and Purpose (both dated June 16, 2021), copies of which are available on the FTP website using the link given below. A second informal public meeting to discuss the proposed rule changes was held on July 29, 2021.
The Plains Ground Water Management District, and other stakeholders who participated in the meetings, are considering the amendments as proposed by Staff. Additional informal public meetings may be scheduled as needed, after which the matter would be forwarded to the Commission’s Hearing Officer for applicable formal rulemaking proceedings (case no. 20GW12).
This webpage will be updated with additional information on the rulemaking process as it becomes available. We are also using email to provide information to interested parties that wish to receive updates on the rulemaking process. All persons wishing to be provided emails must sign up on the Designated Basins Rulemaking Notification List sign-up feature on the Division of Water Resources’ website, using the link below.
The Rulemaking for Statewide Nontributary Groundwater (2 CCR 402-7) has been terminated, effective 4/15/2021. Please view the documents describing the reason for termination.
Secretary of State Notice regarding Rulemaking Termination & Additional details regarding Termination of Rulemaking
This webpage will be updated when a future Rulemaking has been rescheduled.