Well Drilling in Arizona
Prior to drilling a new well, or deepening or modifying an existing well, a Notice of Intent to Drill must be filed with ADWR. Forms are available on this site and must be submitted to ADWR accompanied by the appropriate filing fee. Authority to deepen an existing well or drill a new well will be valid for one year. After that, a new Notice of Intent must be filed. A licensed well-drilling contractor must perform the work.
Resources for Well Owners
ADWR regulates all groundwater wells in Arizona. Well regulations are vital to the proper management and protection of our groundwater. Well construction standards help prevent contamination of the wells and the surrounding groundwater. There are two types of production wells: exempt wells and non-exempt wells. An "exempt" well typically is used for domestic purposes. It is equipped to pump 35 gallons per minute or less and may be constructed in many areas of Arizona to serve water uses related to the supply, service and activities of households and private residences. Non-exempt wells have a pump capacity greater than 35 gallons per minute. The following types of rights or permits are required to withdraw water from non-exempt wells in AMAs: Grandfathered rights, Service area rights, and Withdrawal permits.
A Practical Guide for Drilling a Domestic Water Well in Arizona - START HERE! The guide is a step-by-step, plain-language, comprehensive guide to well drilling in Arizona.
Well Drillers List - The Well Drillers List allows users to search drilling firms by company name, zip code or qualifying party name.
Statutes and Rules - Governing Minimum Well Construction Standards and the Licensing of Well Drillers. These are the state regulations and rules specific to well drilling and well driller licensing.
The cadastral location - The 'cadastral location' refers to a method of locating land according to a rectangular coordinate system. When reporting information, you may be asked to provide a cadastral location. Further information on how to enter a cadastral location can be found here. Please refer to Understanding Cadastral Location/Legal Description for help.
Information regarding ADWR's policy on shared wells can be found here.
RESOURCES FOR LICENSED WELL DRILLERS
*NEW* Receive your driller's packets by email rather than by mail by filling out the 55-76 Electronic Driller's Packet Authorization Form and mailing it in to the Department.
eNOI Driller’s Guide - This document outlines the detailed steps necessary to submit an NOI application and print out the required drill cards/packets electronically.
How to File Drill Logs Electronically Video - This is a video tutorial on how to file drill logs electronically using the online drill log system.
Special well construction considerations are necessary at sites with mineralized or contaminated groundwater (A.A.C. R12-15-812(B)), such as Water Quality Assurance Revolving Fund (WQARF) sites. Special Well Construction and Abandonment Procedures for Pinal Creek WQARF can be found here. Guidance for wells located within areas of groundwater contamination can be found here.
Well Driller e-file (eNOI) - This resource allows well-drillers to file Notices of Intention to Drill wells online. This site may be used by well drillers to obtain online authorizations to drill certain types of wells.
Well Driller Licensing Exams are administered at ADWR on the second Friday of every month. Please contact us at (602) 771-8527 if you are considering becoming a Licensed Well Driller in Arizona or are renewing your driller's license. Licenses must be renewed annually.
AROC - The Arizona Registrar of Contractors (AROC) provides consumers with information about contractors' licenses.
Pursuant to Section 41-1093.01. Arizona Revised Statutes, an agency shall limit all occupational regulations to regulations that are demonstrated to be necessary to specifically fulfill a public health, safety or welfare concern. Pursuant to sections 41-1093.02 and 41-1093.03, Arizona Revised Statutes, you have the right to petition this agency to repeal or modify the occupational regulation or to bring an action in a court of general jurisdiction to challenge the occupational regulation and to ensure compliance with section 41-1093.01, Arizona Revised Statutes.
For a complete text of the referenced Arizona Revised Statutes, copies can be obtained by going to the Arizona State Legislature. (Copy this address into your browser for the referenced Arizona Revised Statutes https://www.azleg.gov/searchresultsDOC/?insearch=41-1093&titles=41)
Well abandonment is accomplished “through filling or sealing the well so as to prevent the well, including the annular space outside the casing, from being a channel allowing the vertical movement of water.” A.A.C. R12-15-816(G).
See ADWR's Well Abandonment Handbook for more information regarding properly abandoning a well.
Well Spacing and Impact Rules
On June 6, 2006, the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council (GRRC) approved the ADWR proposed rules establishing well-spacing criteria for certain new wells and well uses in the state. The GRRC also approved a rule defining what constitutes a replacement well in approximately the same location (collectively referred to as “well spacing rules”). The well-spacing rules (numbered R12-15-1301 through R12-15-1308), replace the temporary well-spacing rules adopted by the Director of ADWR (“Director”) on March 11, 1983. The well-spacing rules became effective on August 7, 2006. The approved Well Spacing Rules.
A brief description of the well-spacing rules:
Rules R12-15-1302 through R12-15-1307: These rules contain well-spacing criteria that must be complied with to construct or use certain wells in the state. The rules are designed to prevent unreasonably increasing damage to surrounding land or other water users from the concentration of wells. The well-spacing criteria address three types of unreasonably increasing damage: (1) additional drawdown of water levels at neighboring wells of record; (2) additional regional land subsidence; and, (3) migration of contaminated groundwater to a well of record. The following applications and well uses are subject to the well-spacing criteria:
- An application filed under A.R.S. § 45-599 for a permit to construct a new well or a replacement well in a new location in an Active Management Area (AMA).
- An application filed under A.R.S. § 45-834.01 for a recovery well permit for a new well as defined in A.R.S. § 45-591 (generally, a non-exempt well drilled on or after June 12, 1980) or, except as provided in A.R.S. § 45-834.01(B)(2) or (3), for an existing well as defined in A.R.S. § 45-591 (generally, a non-exempt well drilled before June 12, 1980).
- An application filed under A.R.S. § 45-559 for approval to use a well drilled after September 21, 1991, for the purpose of withdrawing groundwater for transportation to an AMA.
- Use of a well in the Little Colorado River plateau groundwater basin to withdraw groundwater for transportation away from the basin pursuant to A.R.S. § 45-544(B)(1), unless the well was constructed on or before September 21, 1991, or if the well is a replacement well in approximately the same location.
- Use of a well pursuant to a water exchange permit (A.R.S. § 45-1041) or a notice of water exchange (A.R.S. § 45-1051) if:
- There will be any new or increased pumping from the well by the applicant/exchange participant; and,
- The applicant/exchange participant is not a city, town, private water company, or irrigation district.
Rule R12-15-1308: This rule contains criteria that must be met for a proposed well to qualify as a replacement well in approximately the same location. A person proposing to construct a replacement well that will be located in approximately the same location as the well it is replacing must file a notice of intent (NOI) to drill the well but is not required to obtain a well permit or comply with the well-spacing criteria in R12-15-1302 through R12-15-1307.
Rule R12-15-1301: This rule defines terms used in rules R12-15-1302 through R12-15-1308.
It is important to note that the well-spacing rules do not apply to the construction or use of the following types of wells: (1) wells drilled outside of AMAs, except certain recovery wells and certain wells used to withdraw groundwater for transportation away from a groundwater basin; (2) exempt wells within AMAs (generally, non-irrigation wells with a maximum pumping capacity of 35 gallons per minute or less; (3) wells within AMAs drilled pursuant to groundwater withdrawal permits other than general industrial-use permits (e.g., mineral extraction and metallurgical processing permits, drainage permits, dewatering permits and poor quality groundwater permits); and (4) wells that withdraw only surface water.
Questions regarding the rules should be directed to the Groundwater Permitting and Wells Unit at 602-771-8527, Arizona Department of Water Resources, 1110 W. Washington Street Ste. 310, Phoenix, AZ 85007.