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California Well Standards

In 1990, DWR published Bulletin 74-90 as a supplement to Bulletin 74-81, Water Well Standards: State of California, December 1981. Together, the two bulletins form the complete minimum Well Standards for the construction, maintenance, abandonment and destruction of water wells, monitoring wells and cathodic protection wells.

In 1996, the Legislature added geothermal heat exchange wells (GHEW) to the list of well types to be included in the state well standards. In response, DWR developed Draft Geothermal Heat Exchange Well Standards in April 1999. DWR is currently in the process of updating the GHEW Standards. Please see the GHEW Standards Update Project website here for more information.


California Well Standards, Combined
To make the Well Standards easier to use and more widely available, DWR's Southern Region Office combined the contents of Bulletins 74-81 and 74-90. Some minor modifications in wording and formatting were made to improve readability (see list of modifications).

Bulletin 74-90: California Well Standards - PDF 21.32MB
This bulletin is a supplement to DWR Bulletin 74-81, Water Well Standards: State of California, December 1981. Standards in Bulletin 74-81 and this bulletin are minimum requirements for construction, alteration, maintenance, and destruction of water wells, monitoring wells, and cathodic protection wells in California (June 1991).

Bulletin 74-81: Water Well Standards - State of California - PDF 21.70MB
This report was prepared by the Department of Water Resources in fulfillment of its responsibilities under the provisions of Section 231 of the Water Code, and incooperation with the State Department of Health Services (December 1981).

Geothermal Heat Exchange Wells - Draft Well Standards, April 1999 - PDF 174KB
DWR is currently in the process of updating the GHEW Standards. Please visit the project website for more information.

California Laws for Wells - PDF 68KB
This booklet contains California State statutes that relate directly to the construction, alteration, maintenance, and destruction of water wells, monitoring wells, cathodic protection wells, and geothermal heat exchange wells (March 2003).

Water Facts 5. California Well Standards Questions and Answers. (June 1992) - PDF 54KB
Water Facts are short reports on water resources issues of general interest. This Water Facts answers five commonly-asked questions about DWR's well standards. Other Water Facts related to groundwater can be viewed here.

If posted PDF files are not in an accessible text based format, please request an accessible version via the Comments and Suggestion page. If you still need assistance, contact the DWR Webmaster.