Groundwater Exploration and Water Withdrawal Permits for Wells
What kinds of wells need a permit?
The following types of wells require a Water Withdrawal Permit in order to use the well:
- high-capacity wells;
- low-capacity wells; or
- wells used to supply a central water supply system
A low-capacity well supplies more than 25 m3/day while a high-capacity well supplies more than 345 m3/day. Domestic wells generally use less than 2 m3/day and therefore, don’t require a permit.
For high-capacity wells, before this permit can be issued, a Groundwater Exploration Permit is required to drill a test well to determine if the desired volume and quality of water is available and environmentally acceptable.
What do I need to do to apply for a permit?
For a high-capacity well or well used to supply a central supply system, you must submit a completed Groundwater Exploration Permit application form. Once a Groundwater Exploration Permit has been approved, additional tests and work, as outlined in the permit, must be completed and the results provided to the Department.
A Groundwater Exploration Permit does not guarantee the applicant access to water. Only if an evaluation of the results of this work has determined that the proposed withdrawal of water will have an acceptable effect on the environment and other water users can a Water Withdrawal Permit be issued.
A low-capacity well does not require a Groundwater Exploration Permit. However, drilling a low-capacity well does not guarantee that a Water Withdrawal Permit can be issued for a new well.
Proponents who wish to drill a new low-capacity well are encouraged to obtain a Water Withdrawal Permit BEFORE the well is drilled. This ensures that there’s no risk of drilling a well and not being able to utilize it.
What is the process for reviewing my application?
The Department will assess the application for a Groundwater Exploration Permit. If the Department does not believe the well will have a major impact on other groundwater users or the environment, a permit will be issued.
Once you obtain a Groundwater Exploration Permit, you will be asked to perform testing and assessments as identified by the Department. Next, you would apply for a Water Withdrawal Permit. If test information shows that the well will not have a major impact on other groundwater users or an unacceptable impact on the environment, you will be issued a Water Withdrawal Permit.
How long will it take to get a permit?
- Groundwater Exploration Permit: You should allow one to six weeks to process your application.
- Water Withdrawal Permit: After all required testing and assessment information has been provided to the Department, please allow one to ten weeks to process your application.
What is the fee?
|Permit Type||Fee ($)|
|1. Groundwater exploration permit||50|
|2. Groundwater exploration permit extension||25|
|3. Water withdrawal permit - well < 25 m3/day supplying water supply system||50|
|4. Water withdrawal permit renewal or amendment – well < 25 m3/day supplying water supply system||25|
|5. Water withdrawal permit – low capacity well||100|
|6. Water withdrawal permit renewal or amendment – low capacity well||50|
|7. Water withdrawal permit – high capacity well
≤ 1,000,000 m3/yr
|8. Water withdrawal permit renewal or amendment – high capacity well ≤ 1,000,000 m3/yr||1,000|
|9. Water withdrawal permit – high capacity well
> 1,000,000 m3/yr
|10. Water withdrawal permit renewal or amendment – high capacity well > 1,000,000 m3/yr||1,500|
|11. Water withdrawal permit transfer||25|
Water Withdrawal Permits are generally valid for five years. A fee for the issuance or renewal of a water withdrawal permit may be pro-rated for permits valid for less than 5 years.
Who can I contact for more information?