Your own fountain in the garden – a romantic idea or a very specific financial calculation or just a fantasy that can hardly be realized? Given today’s water prices, it is certainly not unrealistic to think about drilling a well in your own garden. You basically have the right to do so, and here’s how it works.
Step by step
First of all, the authority checks for what purpose you want to withdraw the water. The right to clean water is a human right established under international law. In theory, the groundwater under a property belongs to the property owner. From both legal principles together it follows that the groundwater in a state is available to the citizens of that state. The groundwater therefore belongs to the general public. That is why a property owner’s disposal of the groundwater is comprehensively regulated by law so that the quality is always right.
So not only is well drilling subject to notification, but you also generally need a permit if you want to use the groundwater yourself.
In the case of groundwater, “use” is defined as “taking, removing, directing and discharging”, as “damming, lowering and diverting through certain or suitable systems” and as the effect of other “measures that are suitable, permanent or not to bring about only negligible adverse changes in the quality of the water ”.
However, this water authority permit is not required if you only want to use the water obtained for your household, farm, to water cattle in the pasture or in small quantities for a temporary purpose (e.g. for building), if this does not result in any significant adverse effects on the water balance are to be feared. State law can provide even more precise regulations here. On the one hand, it can determine that a permit is required for the cases just mentioned. On the other hand, it can also exempt other groundwater uses from the permit.
If you have convinced the authorities that your dog’s thirst is not going to paralyze the local water supply and you have no plans to fill and sell the latest gourmet table water from your farm, the test is of course far from over. Because this water authority is responsible for protecting our groundwater in this area. It is intended to check that no other circumstances are evident that lead to fear of significant adverse effects on the water balance. That would be This is the case, for example, if the authority is aware of contaminated sites on or in the vicinity of the property that could affect the groundwater. It can then make the permit dependent on the fulfillment of certain requirements for the protection of the groundwater.
Is a permit sufficient or do you need a permit to drill the well?
It may be regulated by state law that drilling from a certain depth or the construction of water supply systems from a certain delivery rate requires a permit.
This is how it is regulated in the Water Act. You need a permit if you have to build a well deeper than 15 meters or if you want to build a well system that can pump more than 6,000 cubic meters of groundwater per year.
If the use of groundwater could have a detrimental effect on nearby, groundwater-dependent ecosystems, an obligation to carry out an environmental impact assessment can be laid down in the Water Act or in a subsidiary law. However, the small private well on your own property will hardly give rise to such concerns, even if your property is near a nature reserve.
However, you do not need to worry about whether you need a permit or a permit when reporting the well construction. If you assumed a permit and the authorities come to the conclusion that you do need a permit, your report will be treated as an application for approval.
Forms and Fees
Via the Internet or by calling your city or local authority, and you can also look up the relevant laws and regulations in advance on the Internet. However, the responsible authorities usually have practical leaflets available about the construction of a new private well, in which you will also be informed about how and where you can find the relevant regulations.
There you will also find out where you have to report / apply for the planned well drilling and how you can get the required form, which will have such an attractive name as “Application for the extraction of groundwater for own water supply”. In addition, you will receive information about which attachments you have to add to the completed form. B. requires a site plan on a certain scale in which you must draw the planned well exactly.
You will also be informed of the charges for an advertisement (usually a double-digit amount) and the charges for approval. The fees for a water authority permit are often made dependent on the construction costs for the well, with at least a three-digit minimum fee.
The depth of the well
If you need a permit from a certain depth, it practically means that you should know how deep your well needs to be before you apply.
Usually there are maps that show the hydrogeological conditions in your home region. If you can read these cards, this is the way to get the information.
If not, the competent authority will surely be able to help you upon request. With a detailed groundwater information that tells you whether there is sufficient groundwater under your property and at what depth it can be expected. A fee is then charged again, usually in two digits.
If the competent authority cannot provide this information for a property in Germany, there would still be the employment of a dowser. If you work seriously, you should only take money when the water has been found in the predicted amount and depth. However, in the event of a miscalculation, he will hardly pay the costs of the unsuccessful drilling.
Who can build the well from when?
Of course, any drilling work may only begin after obtaining a permit or permit. If it is a permit, you can get started yourself, but only if you have the necessary technical skills and know what you need to consider when building a well in order to protect the groundwater. First of all, this means that you must plan and carry out your well construction according to the recognized rules of technology. Then you have to meet the following conditions with regard to groundwater protection:
- The property and the surrounding area must be free from pollution that could have a harmful effect on the groundwater
- The location for the well must prevent pollutants from entering the groundwater
- If possible, a green area and in no case an area with traffic
- Sufficient distance from sewer pipes and pipes with potentially water-polluting substances (gas, oil)
- A minimum of three meters is recommended
- Well shaft cover must be waterproof
If you need a permit for the well construction project, it is usually stipulated that the well may only be constructed by a specialist company for well construction. If a well is to be built in a water protection area, it is usually required that this specialist company can show certain certifications, this increased qualification is necessary because of the special requirements when it comes to drinking water protection.
The right well for your property
In the course of the preparatory work by the authorities, you have at some point gained knowledge of the hydrogeological conditions on / under your property. When the time comes, the time has come to think about the design of your fountain. For the garden you can choose a ramming well, a rinsing well or a drilled well. The first two for shallow development depths and the extraction of not very much water. The borehole for pumping larger amounts of water from almost any depth. Which design is the best depends on the subsoil and the depth of the well. In addition, the required delivery rate and the general purpose of use and should be decided with expert advice from the well supplier.
If all you had to do was file an advertisement and get your permission without further ado, you can simply bring the first water to the surface, following the instructions of the fountain manufacturer and with a champagne glass in hand.
Wells that require approval usually have to be approved by the responsible water authority. For this purpose, you are usually allowed to submit a lot of technical documents to the water authority and maybe also to the regional geology office after construction has been completed. That can be B. be: An overview plan on a certain scale 1: 5,000. A site plan of the property on a different specified scale, on which the well and other groundwater uses within a few kilometers are drawn. Documentation of the drilling, which must comply with various standards. A drawing of the drilling profile. A well construction drawing and a log of the geophysical measurements.
What else you need to consider before, during or after the well construction
- If you want to build a well on someone else’s property, regardless of whether it is your landlord’s property or an allotment garden, you must ask the owner for consent.
- For allotment gardens, special regulations may also have to be observed, which you will find out when managing your system.
- Before submitting the official application, you should find out whether your property is located in a water protection area. You can also find out about this from the responsible water protection authority.
- If this is the case, well construction is only possible in exceptional cases. Usually this also costs a hefty exception fee, the construction company needs special certifications. So the whole well construction may have to be rethought.
- If at some point you no longer need the well, you mustn’t just fill it up. It has to be dismantled as your state water law provides (and three-digit fees are due again).
You can’t just “drill into the garden” a well. There are a lot of regulations that you have to research and comply with. So it is worthwhile to calculate before the well construction project how much money you can really save and how the effort and costs of well construction can counteract this. These figures could help you: On average, 1,000 liters of water cost us around 2 dollars. An average household spends around $ 450 a year on water. Garden owners usually spend more. If you don’t want to let your plants thirst, this can add up to hundreds of dollars in watering costs per season. With a somewhat larger plot of land, a well can be worthwhile if you do not want to convert to a natural garden with micro clover lawns, which usually does not require irrigation.