Drilling Your Own Water Well In Texas, is It Legal?

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Drilling a Water Well In Texas, is it Legal?

I recently spoke to a state Representative and asked him what he thought about the water issues Texas was facing and he said the past two legislative sessions he estimated the 60% of all the bills put forward for vote had something to do with water. Drilling a water well in Texas might soon become the rule rather than the exception.

As you probably are aware, if you live inside your city limits it is a daunting task to try and get a permit for one. Unless your municipal doesn't offer city water, drilling a water well in Texas is not an option. You can usually apply for a variance and there have been people approved for uses such as agriculture or livestock. Most likely you are going to need a lawyer to help you with this. If you are a lawyer that can do this I will be happy to link your information, please use our contact form.

Most of the state is split up into 16 management areas and 87 ground water conservation districts. Each is its own unique governing body but they do many of the same things. They are the authority that will approve or deny your application for a water well permit. A map of the districts can be found on the TWDB website.

Getting a well permit without a drilling license looks to be difficult even though it seems like the states website has a provision for the landowner to do this:
1901.052. Rules
a) The commission shall adopt rules as necessary to enforce this chapter, including rules governing:

1) license applications;

2) qualifications of applicants;

3) standards of conduct for drillers, including standards for marking well drilling rigs and equipment; and

4) procedures and practices before the department.

b) The commission may not adopt a rule under this chapter that:

1) regulates the installation or repair of well pumps and equipment by:

A) a person on property the person owns or controls for the person's own use;

B) an employee of a person described by Paragraph A; or

C) a person who is not hired or compensated and who acts on behalf of a person described by Paragraph (A); or

2) requires a person who owns or controls property or possesses a well to complete, repair, or retrofit the well to any standard other than a standard in effect at the time the well was originally completed unless the well is found to be a threat to public health and safety or to water quality.

It looks like the proper way to test this would be after pulling the existing water wells in Texas that are in close proximity and figuring out the correct groundwater conservation district, the next logical step is to apply and see what happen. I pulled these steps off of one of the ground water conservation districts website:

Step 1 - Submit permit applications and fees associated with the applications to the District.

Step 2 - District determines application to be administratively complete.

Step 3 - Application is scheduled for the next Board of Directors meeting and notice of permit hearing is posted in the newspaper.

Step 4 - If application is approved by the Board, the permit fee statement is issued and mailed for the amount of water requested.

Step 5 - Once fees have been received by the District the permit is issued and mail to Permittee.

Step 6 - Once drilling is complete the well log is due to the District.

You have to install a meter on it and keep a monthly log of the meter readings. You send in a pump report due Feb 15th, an annual permit renewal fee due Oct 31st, and annual usage fees due Jan 1st. The usage fee is upfront for the year. Whether or not they accept permit applications from landowners who want to drill their own wells is still yet to be determined. If you have successfully done this or have information on it, please use Water Well Drilling Texas' contact us link or shoot me a quick email. I know all Groundwater Conservation District's are different and would like to compile a list of which ones have approved self-drilled wells.
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