Q. What wells are eligible for exempt well status?
A. A well qualifies for Exempt Well status if it is used solely for domestic or agriculture use or for providing water for livestock or poultry that is either drilled, completed, or equipped so that it is incapable of producing more than 36,000 gallons per day; and certain wells for hydrocarbon exploration.
Q. What is "Domestic Use"?
A. Domestic use means the use of water at a single-family household to support domestic activities including drinking, washing, and sanitation. It also include irrigation for household lawns and gardens. Domestic use does not include use for any commercial purpose or at any commercial establishment. Domestic use does not include a use at any commercial establishment with a single-family household.
Q. What is "Agricultural Use"?
A. That answer is a little complicated, but it basically means raising crops, plants, or animals for sale. Raising a horse for pleasure or a cow for milk for the family would probably fall under Domestic Use rather than Agricultural Use. You should review the District Rules definition section for more about this topic, or contact the District Office with specific questions.
Q. How much water is 36,000 gallons per day?
A. That is a LOT of water! It means that the well must be capable of producing 25 gallons per minute. The average household uses about 400 gallons of water per day.
Q. What requirements are there for an Exempt Well?
A. Exempt Wells existing before June 11, 2003 are exempt from most District Rules and do not require a Permit, but may be registered using the Exempt Well Registration Form. There is no fee for registering. Existing Exempt Wells, drilled on or after June 11, 2003 are exempt from permitting requirements and production fees, but shall not be exempt from pre-registration or registration requirements and must be registered with the District using the Well Application Form. There is no fee for registering. The District will review the completed documentation to verify that the well is an Exempt Well. If the well is not exempt, the well owner must apply for an Operating Permit.
Q. What if I want to drill an Exempt Well now?
A. To drill a new Exempt Well requires pre-registration using the Well Application Form and a registration fee of $50.00.
Q. My exempt Well existed before June 12, 2003; should I register it?
A. There are many reasons for the District to know about your well. It helps the District develop and maintain water use information and to better understand the hydrogeology of the area. This helps the District in its mission of protecting and preserving the groundwater resources within the District. Registration will also help protect the owner's rights for water based on historical use records.
Q. How do I know the District will not charge me for water use in the future?
A. State law prohibits such an action. State law defines Exempt Wells and prevents the District from charging fees for drilling or production on these wells. Also, the legislation authorizing the District prohibits such fees. The District cannot, by law, charge for Exempt Well water use or charge a permit fee.
Q. What about wasting water?
A. All water used from any well must be for a beneficial purpose. Waste water is a violation of the Texas Water Code and District Rules, and every well owner is expected to do everything possible to prevent waste. Exempt Well rights do not extend to the waste of water.
Q. Who should complete the application form?
A. The form should be completed by any person desiring 1.) To drill a new well within the District. 2.) To modify, complete, change type of use, plug, abandon, or alter the size of an existing well within the District. Application forms will be provided by the District and furnished to the applicant upon request .
Q. Do I have to complete more than one application if I plan to drill or alter more than one well?
A. Yes. A separate form must be completed for each well .
Q. I think my well will be an exempt well; do I have to complete this form?
A. Yes. Exempt Wells shall be registered with the District and all fees and/or deposits paid before drilling. District staff will review the application and make a preliminary determination on whether the well meets the requirements, exclusions, or exemptions. After the well is completed, the District will review the registration application, driller log, state well report, and other information and make a final determination on whether the well meets the requirements as an Exempt Well. Until a well is complete it may not be possible to establish that it is an Exempt Well. If the well turns out not to be exempt, the well owner must apply for an Operating Permit.
Q. Can the well driller or someone else complete the form for me?
A. Maybe. The form must be signed by the property/well owner or authorized agent. This authorization must be in writing, and specify the authority to act for the land owner. Wells for hydrocarbon exploration may be signed by the land lease holder or authorized agent.
Know Your Water, Water IQ www.wateriq.org
Texas Well Owner Network http://twon.tamu.edu/
Texas Water Development Board www.twdb.texas.gov/index.asp
Fun For Kids www.twdb.texas.gov/kids
TWDB Submitted Drillers Reports www.twdb.texas.gov/groundwater/data/drillersdb.asp
Water Well Drillers and Pump Installer Search https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/wwd/wwd.htm
Know Your Water, Water IQ www.wateriq.org
Palmer Drought Indices www.drought.gov/drought/data-maps-tools/current-conditions
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality https://tceq.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=aed10178f0434f2781daff19eb326fe2
Landowner's Guide to Plugging Abandoned Wells Landowner’s Guide to Plugging Abandoned Water Wells (texas.gov)
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