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 Groundwater, withdrawn through wells, is an integral part of Colorado’s water supply.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.
- Apply for a New Well Permit / Replace Existing Well
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 and the Well Permit Application Forms section below.
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 for large capacity wells have been stipulated to meet interstate compact agreements and / or reduce the precipitous fall in groundwater levels. These rules are available on the Well Metering subpages.
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.
- Finding an Existing Well Permit
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.
GWS-11, Change Owner, Change in Owner Name/Mailing Address, Owner Well, New Owner, Change Address, GWS-12, Registration of Existing Well, GWS-44, Residential