Water Supply

New and Existing Wells

“Water Well Owner’s Handbook," available from Oregon Water Resources Department, is an excellent source of information.

“Drinking Water Requirements for Development in Benton County” has a summary of information and good resources on water quality testing, water quantity testing for land divisions, water quantity testing for building permits, protection of well heads, and well identification requirements.

The Oregon Water Resources Department (WRD) has jurisdiction over the construction of new wells and maintains databases on existing wells and well logs. Please visit the WRD Well Construction and Compliance webpage for additional information.

According to the WRD "About Us" webpage:

"By law, all surface and ground water in Oregon belongs to the public. The Water Resources Department is the state agency charged with administration of the laws governing surface and ground water resources.  The Department's core functions are to protect existing water rights, facilitate voluntary stream flow restoration, increase the understanding of the demands on the state's water resources, provide accurate and accessible water resource data, and facilitate water supply solutions. The Director of the Water Resources Department is charged with carrying out the water management policies and rules set by the Water Resources Commission and with overseeing the enforcement of Oregon's water laws." (Viewed 9/10/2015)

New Dwelling Water Requirements

Prior to the issuance of a building permit for a new dwelling, the applicant must submit evidence of a potable water supply either already existing on the property or legally available to the property (i.e. shared well or community water supply). In order to ensure that the water supply is potable (drinkable) and in sufficient quantity to support the daily needs of a household, the county requires a water quality test and a well pump test performed within the last 12-months. Please view and print the following documents:

Please include the completed pump test form and pump test recovery worksheet and the water quality test results in your building permit application documents.

Groundwater Use Without a Water Right

The following uses of groundwater are allowed without a water right: 

  1. Stock watering.
  2. Lawn or noncommercial garden: watering of not more than one-half acre in area.
  3. Single or group domestic purposes: not exceeding 15,000 gallons per day. A family of 4 typically uses between 200 and 300 gallons per day.
  4. Single industrial or commercial purposes: not exceeding 5,000 gallons per day. Does not include irrigation or watering to promote plant growth.
  5. Down-hole heat exchange uses.
  6. Watering school grounds: ten acres or less, of schools located within a critical ground water area.

Note: While these water uses do not require a permit, the use is only allowed if the water is used for a “beneficial purpose without waste” and may be subject to regulation in times of water shortage. Wells supplying water for exempt groundwater uses must comply with Oregon’s minimum well construction standards for the construction, maintenance, and abandonment of any well. For additional information please read the "Aqua Book" found here (PDF).