Water Well Drilling Information

Revised: August 8, 2022


House Bill 177 Water Well Amendments passed the 2022 legislative session. This bill updated Section 73-2-1 of the Utah Code, which gives the State Engineer authority to make rules for the construction of wells and the licensing of well drillers. This section was updated by the passage of HB177 to require the State Engineer to regulate all water wells regardless of depth (Prior to this, water wells 30-feet deep or less were exempt from licensing/construction regulation). The changes to this section of statute went into effect on May 10, 2022. In order to accommodate this statute change, the administrative rules for wells (R655-4 UAC) were revised and became effective on July 22, 2022. Essentially, the exemption for the regulation of construction of wells 30 feet deep or less was removed from the Rules in order to allow the State Engineer to regulate all water wells. Therefore, shallow water wells, and regulated activities associated with shallow water wells, must now be completed by a licensed driller or licensed shallow water well constructor and the administrative and construction requirements in R655-4 followed. It is important to note that none of the revisions described above change one way or the other the need to have a valid water right in place up front in order to construct a shallow well and beneficially use the groundwater from that well. This has always been the case and will not change with these revisions.


  • A shallow water well owner must have a valid water right to beneficially use groundwater from a shallow water well prior to well construction. Beneficial uses can include domestic, irrigation, and stockwater among others. This requirement is not new and has always been in place since the inception of Utah water right law. See FAQ#3 on the Division's home page for an example of the process to obtain a water right. A Start Card is issued upon approval of the water right, which is essentially the permit to construct the well.
  • Shallow water wells must be constructed by a licensed well driller or licensed shallow water well constructor. See the License and Registration link of the left side of this page for forms and instructions for obtaining a license. A shallow water well constructor cannot construct or work on water wells deeper than 30 feet. A well owner can drill their own shallow water well if they have a valid water right and obtain a shallow water well constructor license.
  • Licensees shall obtain the start card (proof of authorization to construct a well) from the well owner, and then file it with the Division before constructing or working on a shallow water well in accordance with the Rules.
  • After completion of regulated well activity (e.g., construction, renovation, deepening, abonnement, and pump work), the licensee shall submit a log (e.g., well log, pump log, abandonment log as applicable) to the Division detailing the work performed on the well.
  • The licensee shall follow the construction requirements for shallow water wells found in Section R655-4-17 of the Rules, which sets forth requirements focused on the safety and protection of the public and groundwater resource.


In the State of Utah, wells regulated by the State Engineer must be constructed by a currently licensed Well Driller (shallow water wells can also be drilled by a licensed shallow water well constructor). Moreover, a Utah Licensed Well Driller or a Utah Licensed Pump Installer must perform installation and repair of pumps on wells regulated by the State Engineer (A person who installs or repairs a well pump on the person's own property for the person's own use is not required to have a pump installer's license). Likewise, non-production wells deeper than 30 feet are also regulated by the State Engineer.

The State Engineer, through the Division of Water Rights, is responsible for well and pump licensing and well construction rules and regulations. Specifically, the drilling, construction, deepening, repair, renovation, replacement, cleaning, development, abandonment, and pump installation/repair of the following well types are regulated by the Administrative Rules for Wells (R655-4 UAC) and the applicable work must be completed by a licensed water well driller or licensed pump installer:

  • Water production wells including public supply, domestic, stockwater, irrigation, industrial/commercial, recharge/recover, and open-loop heat exchange wells.
  • Non-production wells greater than 30 feet deep including, but not limited to, test wells, monitoring wells, cathodic protection wells, piezometers, closed-loop heat exchange wells, inclinometers, and dewatering wells.

Click here to view the Water Well Handbook

The Handbook includes the Administrative Rules for Water Wells, well-related statute, and other important well information. This version of the Administrative Rules for Water Wells has been in effect since July of 2022. The purpose of these Rules is to assist in the orderly development of underground water, insure minimum well construction standards, prevent pollution of aquifers, and to obtain accurate records of regulated well activities.

By law, well driller reports (Well Logs) and pump installation reports (Pump Logs), must be submitted to the State Engineer on any work on regulated wells. All data relating to these reports are recorded in the Division of Water Right's well drilling database and are available for viewing over the Internet or in person at the Division's Salt Lake Office. Information recorded on the reports includes lithology or geologic strata penetrated during the drilling process, the location of water bearing strata, static and pumping water levels, pump data, water quality and all materials and procedures used in the construction of the well.

This webpage also provides links (left side of page) to other important well-related information.