There are many advantages to having your own water well. Wells are useful and convenient solutions for gaining access to water in rural areas, cutting certain chemicals out of your water supply and saving money on costly municipal water bills.
But having a well installed isn’t as easy as calling a contractor and setting a date to break ground. Water well drilling in Missoula, MT requires obtaining a water right. The state owns its own water, but it permits the use of its water through the process of granting water rights. When you obtain a water right, you obtain the right to use water for specific purposes—such as managing your own water well.
It’s possible that you could already have a water right and not be aware of it. This is often the case if someone living on your land before you had a valid water right, but that’s not a certainty. Water rights can lapse if the water ceases to be used for a period of time or if the legal requirements for responsible water use are not met.
The best way to know for sure is to search the database of water rights permits maintained by the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC). You can access the database online at dnrc.mt.gov. If you check the database and don’t find an existing water right, you’ll need to apply for a permit for a new water right.
Applying for your water right
You can apply for a permit through the Montana DNRC. Several qualifications must be met in order for the state to approve a new water right. It’s best to check with the DNRC about all of the specifics, but the most important requirement is that the planned use of the water will be beneficial. Constructing a well to provide safe, clean water for your home is usually considered an acceptable beneficial use, but the unique details of your property will determine this for sure.
If your initial application is approved, the DNRC will post a public notice of its decision. This notice is open to feedback, including any objections to the permit being issued. If you clear this part of the process, you’ll receive your permit. The permit itself will outline the specific details of your plans for the water, including the date by which you must finish any work needed to complete the project.
Completing the process
After you’ve finished the actual work, you’ll need to pass one more requirement of the DNRC. You’ll have to prove that your water right is being used as intended—meaning the water is being used beneficially. This is the last step—now you can enjoy your new water source!
If you need help with water well drilling in Missoula, MT, the experts at Camp Well Drilling and Pump Service are here to serve you. In addition to drilling and pumping services, we can guide you through the process of checking or obtaining your water right. Get in touch today to learn more!