Nearly half of Santa Clara County’s water supply originates from the county’s groundwater resources. In some portions of the county, like the South County, the percentage of the water supply that originates from groundwater is much higher, reaching nearly 100 percent. Because groundwater is so important to the county’s water supply, the Santa Clara Valley Water District’s Board of Directors has directed staff to aggressively protect it. One of the ways the district accomplishes this is through the implementation of the District Well Ordinance Program.
Through the Well Ordinance Program the district regulates the construction, destruction, and maintenance of wells and other deep excavations.
- The district regulates wells because improperly constructed, maintained, or destroyed wells can act as conduits that bypass the natural protection afforded by unaltered geologic materials and allow poor quality surface or subsurface waters to move into drinking water aquifers.
- Well standards are also needed because improperly maintained wells may allow animals or small children to fall into them and become injured or drown.
Information for well owners
A Guide For The Private Well Owner is a downloadable publication that will answer many of your questions about a well owner's responsibilities, how to maintain a well properly, and how to test for water quality.
Be Well Prepared is a website created by the California Department of Water Resources that includes tools and resources to help communities that are dependent on groundwater to prepare for potential impacts to household water supplies, which include domestic well owners and residents that use and maintain their own well.
Resources for Dry Wells in Santa Clara County is a downloadable list of resources for owners of dry wells.
Because the water district contributes to the maintenance of the groundwater basins, certain well owners are required to pay the water district for the well water they use. The District Act authorizes the district to charge customers for groundwater (Section 26). The district board of directors passed Resolution 91-53, which requires certain well owners to have a meter installed.
Here is some of what the water district offers well owners:
- Finance and Revenue Collection Unit
- Assist public in completing and filing groundwater production statements
- Process requests for groundwater charge zone boundary exclusions
- Provide meter readings to groundwater customers
- Wells and Water Measurement Unit
- Process requests for water-producing and monitoring well information
- Provide well information to well owners
- Provide well permitting, well inspections, and well standards interpretation
The Well Ordinance Program is responsible for issuing permits and inspecting all well construction and destruction activities in Santa Clara County. The program was initiated to help keep wells from endangering the public and to help ensure that wells do not threaten the groundwater resources of Santa Clara County.
Here is a list of the major activities of the well ordinance program as authorized by the district's Ordinance 90-1.
- Issue permits for the construction and destruction of wells, exploratory borings, deep elevator shafts, and other deep excavations.
- Inspect the construction and destruction of wells, exploratory borings, deep elevator shafts, and other deep excavations.
- Enforce violations against the District Well Ordinance and to the district and state well standards.
- Provide customer assistance in permitting and well standards interpretation.
Well permit applications are available on-line for well construction, well destruction, and exploratory boring.
Use the links at left to learn more, or call the Well Permitting and Inspections Hotline, (408) 630-2660.