City of Austin – Water Wells Program

To better protect the city’s water supply system and groundwater quality, the City of Austin recently adopted a new ordinance for Austin Water Utility water and wastewater customers with wells. This ordinance includes registration requirements for all existing and newly drilled wells and notification of work associated with the drilling of new wells, the installation of water well pumps, and other closely related activities. The purpose is to guarantee that no cross-connections exist (ensuring the presence of back-flow prevention devices or air gaps) and that well construction standards are met (surface and subsurface seals, setbacks from sources of contaminants, safeguards to prevent well head damage, etc). The ordinance also serves to provide an accurate accounting of wells in the area which will facilitate estimating total withdrawals and any future efforts to manage the northern segment of the Edwards Aquifer as a future potential water supply for the City.

CoA Water Wells Program Quick Facts

Applies to:
Austin Water Utility water and/or wastewater customers with wells.Purpose:
Protect the city water supply system and ground-water quality from cross-connection and potential sources of contamination.

Ordinance No.:
20121011-005, Chapter 15-12 of City Code

Effective Date:
Oct. 22, 2012

More Info:

An appropriately located and properly constructed and maintained well can provide a safe and reliable long-term water supply. However, if wells are poorly constructed or deteriorated, they can serve as conduits allowing pollutants such as bacteria, nitrates, pesticides, fertilizers, etc. to contaminate a water supply.  A well is a direct connection to an aquifer, so protecting the wellhead is the first line of defense against contamination. Cracked well house slabs or deteriorated well casings can provide pollutants a direct pathway for surface and shallow subsurface contaminants to enter the aquifer.

Whether the well is in use or not, it is still very important to maintain a well in good condition to protect against contamination. Additionally, if a well is connected to a residential system that is also supplied by a public water supply, special
precautions must be taken to prevent cross-connection between sources.

The District requires all wells within its boundary be maintained in good condition, registered, and possibly permitted. The City of Austin Well Ordinance requirements apply if the property receives water or wastewater service from Austin Water Utility.