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Safe Drinking Water FAQs

1.  Can I drill a well on my property?

If the parcel is not within the service area of a water purveyor, well water may be allowed if all setbacks are met and the well permit application is approved. See question 6 for more information on obtaining a well permit.

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2.  How do I test my water or get test results?

Private wells may be tested by the homeowner at their own expense. DEHS recommends testing annually for bacteria, nitrates and any other contaminants of concern, i.e., arsenic, fluoride, iron, manganese and sulfur. A list of State certified labs in San Bernardino County is available. Click here for the state approved lab list or contact our office at 1-800-442-2283 for more information.

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3.  How do I know how much water I use from my well?

A totalizer flowmeter can be placed on the discharge line from the well to measure gallons per minute (gpm). Typical homes only need a well that pumps 1-3 gpm. DEHS recommends the homeowner has a pump test conducted on the well every year to determine its pumping capacity, motor efficiency, and static water level (from Southern California Edison or a private company).

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4.  How should my well be constructed for an individual home?

California Water Well Standards must be met for the construction of wells in San Bernardino County. For a diagram of surface slab and pump installation details click here.

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5.  Do I need a permit to construct or destroy a well?

A well permit is required for the construction, destruction, or rehabilitation of any well in San Bernardino County. The well permit must be signed by the property owner and a C-57 well driller that is registered with this County. A list of registered well drillers is available here or contact our office at 1-800-442-2283 for more information.

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6.  How do I obtain a well permit application?

The well permit application is available here or call 1-800-442-2283, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to request a paper copy. Application may be submitted electronically, by mail, or submitted at any one of our offices.

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7.  What is the Desert Groundwater Management Ordinance (DGMO)?

The DGMO is County Ordinance 33.06551 et. al. that aims to protect the groundwater resources within the unincorporated and unadjudicated desert region of San Bernardino County. Well proposals which are located outside of the jurisdictional boundaries of the Mojave Water Agency and Public Water Districts within the Morongo Basin and which are situated in the unincorporated desert region of the County, generally described as that area of the County lying west of the Colorado River and the California-Nevada State line, north of the San Bernardino-Riverside County line, south of the San Bernardino-Inyo County line and east of Fort Irwin Military Reservation, the Mojave Water Agency, the Marine Air Ground Task Force Command Center, Twentynine Palms Water District and the City of Twentynine Palms are subject to the ordinance and must either adopt a groundwater management plan or fall under one of the exclusions. For more information contact DEHS at 800-442-2283.

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8.  Can I install a water storage tank and haul water instead of drilling a well?

Hauled water is not allowed for new construction. The potable water source for the property must be from an approved water purveyor or well.

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9.  My well has 'gone dry', what do I do?

This occurs when the groundwater level falls below the depth of the pump or the bottom of the well. You will need to contact a licensed contractor who can assess your situation and give you options. has a Contractor Lookup tool . You will need to ensure the contractor is licensed with San Bernardino County .

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10.  Who do I report my dry well or other well problems to?

Problems could include the well no longer producing water, producing water sporadically, increased sand or sediment, or decreased pressure. Help us document these impacts of the drought. Although we cannot solve individual well problems, information we gather will assist in our drought assessment efforts and understanding groundwater basin conditions. Information on well problems can be reported by calling Environmental Health Services at 800-442-2283.

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11.  I haven’t had problems but how can I be proactive?

Knowing the total depth and general construction of your well can help you anticipate how your well may respond in drought conditions. This information can be found on a ‘Well Log’ that was filled out at the time your well was drilled. Having your well log on hand is a must, especially during dry times.

Copies of Well Logs, also known as Well Completion Reports or Well Driller Reports, are available from the San Bernardino County Department of Environmental Health. Fill out and return the Records Request Form to the Environmental Health Division. Call 800-442-2283 with any questions.

Alternatively, you can request your well depth information and well log by contacting the Department of Water Resources using the Well Log Request Form or by calling 818-549-2307. Annual well maintenance is also recommended. Have your well serviced to check pump performance, depth to water, and the depth of your pump. Information regarding the depth of the pump in your well may be recorded on installation receipts, or may be available from the pump company which performed the installation.

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12.  How can I find out where the groundwater level is in my area?

Depth to groundwater for monitoring wells in your area can be viewed at the Water Data Library . Use the map to find a monitoring well near you. If you know the total depth of your well, where it is screened, and how deep your pump sits in the borehole then you can compare that information to local groundwater conditions to gauge your risk for running into well troubles.

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13.  What information is available for agricultural users?

The UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources is working to help farmers cope with the unwelcome outcome of historically low rainfall this season and the last three years. The UC Drought Resource website has a number of links including a calendar of drought events, agricultural and natural resource experts, and information and resources for agriculture, rangeland, and urban landscapes. A recent addition includes recorded video presentations on high-priority drought topics. These are available for viewing on the UC California Institute of Water Resources page .

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