Water Well Permitting

 

Ogallala and Dockum Aquifers

drillThe High Plains Water District's well spacing rules are designed to reduce the interference between wells when pumped. The rules provide that wells be spaced in accordance with their expected production; and as a part of this requirement, landowners are required to apply for a permit prior to drilling and production of water of any well expected to produce 17.5 gallons of water per minute or more.  This applies to wells drilled into the Ogallala Aquifer and Dockum (Santa Rosa) Aquifer.

Why does the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District No. 1 require well permits, and why is well spacing required?

Water stored in the Ogallala Formation flows into wells due to the forces of gravity.  As the water in storage inside the casing and well bore is pumped out, water from the formation begins to flow into the well to fill the void.

As a result, the water in the formation begins to take the shape of a cone, with the point of the cone being the bottom of the well. The larger the quantity of water being pumped and the longer the well is pumped, the deeper the "cone of depression" becomes, and the further out from the well the cone extends.

well measuringWhen the outside edges of the cone of a pumped well extend to a nearby well, it reduces the potential yield of the neighboring well and will increase the depth of the cone (pumping level) of that well when pumped. If both wells are being pumped at the same time, their cones of depression overlap and can negatively affect each other. Several wells located in a cluster can for all practical purposes deplete the water from the Ogallala formation in the cluster of wells. All wells in that area could be affected.

The High Plains Water District's well spacing rules are designed to reduce the interference between wells when pumped. The rules provide that wells be spaced in accordance with their expected production; and as a part of this requirement, each landowner is required to apply for a permit prior to the drilling and production of any well expected to produce 17.5 gallons of water per minute or more. (Amended Jan. 14, 2009)

A permit must be applied for and approved by (1) the district manager or his designee and (2) the district's board of directors before the well drilling may legally begin. A refundable deposit of $250.00 is required for each water well permit (Ogallala or Dockum well). This is refunded to the landowner/operator when the well is completed and the driller's log and other documentation is returned to the district office.

Permit Procedure - How to Get a Permit

  1. An appointment should be made with the district's Lubbock office for one of the district's field technicians to meet the landowner/operator at the proposed well site.
  2. The field technician discusses the permit application and the proposed water well site location with the landowner/operator. A copy of the water district's revised rules are provided to the landowner/operator at this time.
  3. A global positioning system (GPS) reading is obtained at the proposed well site. Measurements are also made to historic property line boundaries and nearby existing water wells.
  4. The field technician returns the permit application to the district's Lubbock office. The district manager or his designee reviews the application and recommends approval or denial of the permit application to the High Plains Water District's Board of Directors. The board has the final decision in approving or disapproving a water well permit application.

WELL SPACING REQUIREMENTS FOR WELLS DRILLED INTO THE OGALLALA AQUIFER

Well Production (Factor that determines spacing of proposed wells) Minimum Distance from nearest well or proposed well site Minimum Distance from Property Line
17.5 to 70 g.p.m. 100 yards 25 yards
> 70 to 165 g.p.m. 200 yards 50 yards
> 165 to 265 g.p.m. 300 yards 75 yards
> 265 to 390 g.p.m. 350 yards 87.5 yards
> 390 to 560 g.p.m. 400 yards 100 yards
> 560 to 1,000 g.p.m. 500 yards 125 yards
> 1,000 g.p.m. 540 yards 135 yards

WELL SPACING REQUIREMENTS FOR WELLS DRILLED INTO THE DOCKUM ("SANTA ROSA") AQUIFER

Well Production (Factor that determines spacing of proposed wells) Minimum Distance from nearest well or proposed well site Minimum Distance from Property Line
17.5 to 70 g.p.m. 100 yards 25 yards
> 70 to 165 g.p.m. 200 yards 50 yards
> 165 to 265 g.p.m. 300 yards 75 yards
> 265 to 500 g.p.m. 880 yards 100 yards
> 500 g.p.m. 1,760 yards 135 yards

For more information on water well permits or spacing requirements, contact Juan Pena at 806-762-0181 or e-mail him at permit@hpwd.com.