Frequently asked questions

Printable FAQ (PDF)

How can I locate my well registration number?

The easiest way is to use the online search tool to search by parcel number. Keep in mind that wells are registered to the parcel where they are physically located. If you don’t have your parcel number, you can find it on your county assessor’s website. If searching by parcel doesn’t work, the well information may not be up to date in our registry (ex: the parcel may have split or combined). Try watching our How to Find my Well Video.

Are there any State setback requirements from other wells, or from parcel boundaries?

No. State law requires that “except for monitor wells and piezometer wells, no well shall be drilled within 100 feet of any septic tank system, sewage disposal area, landfill, hazardous waste facility, storage area of hazardous materials or petroleum storage areas and tanks, unless authorized in writing by the Director”. A.A.C. R12-15-818. However, some counties have their own setback requirements from property boundaries or other wells. Make sure to check with your county or other local authority for additional requirements. 

Are there penalties if my well is not registered?

All wells, new and existing, should have a registration number that begins with “55-” and is followed by six digits. For new wells, the registration number is assigned when the Notice of Intent to Drill or Application for a Permit to Drill is received. For existing wells (wells drilled prior to June 12, 1980. A.R.S. § 45-591(1)), the registration number is assigned when the Late Registration form is received. Because registration is a statutory requirement (A.R.S. § 45-593(B)), if your well is unregistered there may be compliance enforcement or penalties. In most cases the well is registered but is in a previous owner’s name and needs to be updated with a 55-71A Request to Change Well Information form. If you are having trouble locating your registration number, try watching our How to Find my Well video.

Can I have a well drilled on my parcel?

Because it is an application process, we are unable to offer an answer without first reviewing and processing your application. However, there are some things that may make an application more or less difficult than others. In general, wells drilled outside Active Management Areas (AMAs) or Irrigation Non-Expansion Areas (INAs) are less regulated and have less requirements than wells drilled within AMAs or INAs. To check to see if you are located within an AMA or INA, please view this map.

In addition, if water from your well, or existing well being modified or deepened, will be used for domestic purposes on a parcel of land of 5 or fewer acres, the applicable county or local health authority must first review your application prior to submittal to the Department of Water Resources. A.R.S. § 45-596(F). In most cases, it is reasonable to submit an application to drill a well. However, keep in mind that if ADWR approves an application to drill a well it does not override other local requirements or ordinances that restrict well drilling. To print an application please visit Wells Forms and Applications. If you have additional questions you may read a Practical Guide to Drilling a Domestic Well in Arizona or contact us at 602-771-8527. 

Can the State do anything about my well share agreement?

No. Well share agreements are private contracts executed by private parties to govern the manner in which a well provides water to multiple properties. While Arizona water law governs how a well is to be drilled and located, it does not govern the operation or management of a well share agreement. ADWR cannot intervene or offer advice in the case of a dispute. For more information please read ADWR’s policy on shared well agreements.

Do you have a list of well drillers? Can you refer me to one?

Yes, we have a list of licensed well drillers that can be found here. Although we cannot recommend a specific well driller, ADWR and the Registrar of Contractors (ROC) can tell you if a driller is licensed and in good standing. 

Has my Notice of Intent to Drill a New Well or Application for a Permit to Drill/Operate a Non-Exempt Well within an AMA been received?

Because we issue the proposed well a registration number when we receive the application, you can try searching for it (even if it hasn’t been approved yet) with ADWR’s online search tool. Try searching by parcel number. Keep in mind that we have a statutory limit of 15 days to process a Notice of Intent (A.R.S. § 45-596(D)) and up to 60 days to process an Application for a Permit. A.R.S. § 45-599(D).

Has my Request to Change Well Information been received?

After receipt of a Request to Change Well Information form it can take a few months for the changes to be made to the well file, depending on our workload. These forms are processed in the order in which they were received so it is possible we have received the form, but it has not been reviewed yet. To check if changes have been made, search for your registration number using ADWR’s online search tool. You will not receive anything in the mail once we have completed processing the change.

Can you tell me the exact location of my well?

We are limited in our ability to tell you exactly where a well is physically located on a parcel. Some well files will have site plans and GPS coordinates that can help locate the well on a property. If we do not have that information in the file then we have no other way of determining the location of a well other than its cadastral or parcel number. To view your well file, search for your well’s registration number in ADWR’s imaged record

How can I locate my shared well agreement?

Shared well agreements can sometimes be found in the well’s imaged record. However, because ADWR does not regulate well share agreements nor require them to be submitted to us, they are rarely found in the file. If we do not have a copy of the agreement, try contacting your county recorder to see if it has been recorded with their office. If you have a copy of your agreement that you would like added to your well file, we can always scan it in. 

How can I locate my parcel number?

To locate your parcel number, go to your county assessor’s website and search by address or owner. 

How do I have my well’s water quality tested? How often should I have it tested?

You can have your well’s water quality tested through the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), which maintains a list of up-to-date independent laboratories that are certified for testing well water samples. ADHS recommends that you have a new well tested for arsenic, fluoride, lead, nitrates, total coliform bacteria, total dissolved solids, and uranium. Then, have the well tested once a year for total coliform bacteria and nitrates, and tested every five years for arsenic, fluoride, and uranium. ADHS also recommends that you have your well tested when there are known problems with well water in your area, you have found a high radon concentration in your home, you have experienced problems near your well, you notice a change in water quality, or if anyone in your family has an unexplained illness. 

I received a summons in the mail. What is this about?
The general stream adjudication is a judicial proceeding to determine the nature, extent and relative priority of water rights in Arizona. A.R.S. § 45-251 to 45-264. There are two general stream adjudications in the state, the Gila River System and Source (Gila Adjudication) and the Little Colorado River System and Source (LCR Adjudication).
 
Adjudication summons were served upon all persons listed in the property tax assessments in each watershed and on all persons in the watershed who had, at any time, any kind of water rights filing on record with ADWR. 100,000 Statement of Claimants (SOCs) have been filed in the Gila Adjudication, and over 14,000 SOCs have been filed in the LCR Adjudication. Additionally, ADWR conducts an annual search of its records to determine whether new water uses have been initiated within the adjudication areas and serves new use summons by certified mail to those potential claimants.
 
For more information, please read New Use Summons Frequently Asked Questions or contact the Adjudications section at 602-771-8634.
What form do I use to apply to have a well drilled?

It depends on what kind of well you want to have drilled. The most commonly used form is 55-40 Notice of Intent to Drill, Deepen, Replace, or Modify a Well. This form is used for exempt (pumps 35 gallons per minute or less), water-production wells in Active Management Areas (AMAs) or for any water-production well outside of an AMA. For other wells, including environmental, exploration, and non-exempt (pumps more than 35 gallons per minute) wells in the AMA, please view our forms and applications

What is a cadastral and how are wells located?

The cadastral system is the rectangular coordinate system that is used to map much of Arizona. It divides the state into grids, with the smallest grid being 10-acres in size. Because we use the cadastral system, wells are often plotted to the nearest 10-acre quarter rather than the exact, physical location. For more information regarding the cadastral system, please view this pamphlet.

What is an exempt well?

An exempt well is a well having a pump with a maximum capacity of not more than thirty-five gallons per minute which is used to withdraw groundwater pursuant to section 45-454. A.R.S. § 45-402(8)

What is my well registration number? How do I find it?

Well registration numbers are unique identifiers beginning with “55-”, followed by six digits. Once you have the well registration number you can easily retrieve the imaged record for the well. The imaged record contains all the associated documents that have been submitted to the Department. If you are having trouble locating your well registration number, please view our How to Find my Well Video. If you still can’t locate your well registration number give us a call at 602-771-8527 and have your parcel number ready. Once you have your well registration number you can use ADWR’s imaged records tool to retrieve your file.

What is the aquifer like in this area? What is the depth to groundwater?
To get an idea of what groundwater levels are like in a particular area you can use the Wells 55 Map to view nearby well data. Try using the Parcel Search tool at the top to go to your parcel, then use the Draw Select tool to select a group of wells. The data will appear in the Data Results Table at the bottom. This will give you an idea of well depth and depth to water. Keep in mind that the water level is often taken at the time of drilling, so wells drilled more recently will have more up-to-date data. For more information about how to use our Wells 55 Map, please view our How to Find my Well Video.
 
For additional water level data, view ADWR’s Groundwater Site Inventory (GWSI). GWSI is a field-verified database consisting of thousands of wells that include locations, current and historic water level information, and numerous associated data relating to those wells.
When do I need to file a Request to Change Well Information Form?

When the landowner where the well resides changes you need to file a 55-71A Request to Change Well Information form or update the ownership online. The 55-71A should also be filed if the owner’s contact information changes or the parcel splits or combines. Note that ownership does not need to be updated if the well is not located on the parcel being transferred.