Your own fountain in the garden – a romantic idea or a very specific financial calculation or just a fantasy that can hardly be realized? Given today’s water prices, it is certainly not unrealistic to think about drilling a well in your own garden. You basically have the right to do so, and here’s how it works.

The legal requirements

The water law is regulated in several levels: State law regulations, which may not contradict the overarching Federal Water Management Act. These federal and state regulations must in turn correspond to the EU directives relating to water law. For example the water framework directive passed in 2000.

Since every new well construction touches the groundwater and therefore always involves the risk of the groundwater being impaired, you must never drill your way into the groundwater in Germany without the knowledge of the responsible authorities. The state water laws therefore first of all at least stipulate that you have to report your construction project to the authority responsible for the local water management. In the Berlin Water Act, the notification is ordered by Section 37 (1). In the Bavarian Water Act, the behavior in such so-called earth outcrops is regulated in Section 30. The framework is determined by various provisions in the Water Resources Act. The display z. B. in § 49 of this “law on the regulation of the water balance”, which is usually abbreviated as WHG.

Step by step

First of all, the authorities check for what purpose you want to withdraw the water. The right to clean water is a human right enshrined in international law. In theory, the groundwater under a property belongs to the property owner. From both legal principles together it follows that the groundwater in a state is available to the citizens of that state. The groundwater therefore belongs to the general public. That is why a property owner’s disposal of the groundwater is comprehensively regulated by law so that the quality is always right.

Thus, not only is well drilling subject to notification, but you also need a permit in accordance with Section 9 Paragraph 1 No. 5 in conjunction with Section 8 WHG if you want to use the groundwater yourself.

In the case of groundwater, “use” is defined as “taking, removing, directing and discharging”, as “damming, lowering and diverting through certain or suitable systems” and as the effect of other “measures that are suitable, permanent or not to bring about only negligible adverse changes in the quality of the water ”.

This water authority permit according to § 9 i. In accordance with § 8 WHG, however, according to § 46 WHG, it is not necessary if you only use the water obtained for your household, yard, for watering cattle in the pasture or in small quantities for a temporary purpose (e.g. when building ) want to use if they do not have any significant negative effects on the water balance. State law can provide even more precise regulations here. On the one hand, it can determine that a permit is required for the cases just mentioned. On the other hand, it can also exempt other groundwater uses from the permit (as does Section 36 of the Berlin Water Act, according to which you are allowed to pump groundwater to irrigate your private garden).

If you have convinced the authorities that your dog’s thirst is not going to paralyze the local water supply and you have no plans to fill and sell the latest gourmet table water from your farm, the test is of course far from over. Because this water authority is responsible for protecting our groundwater in this area. As provided in Section 46 of the WHG, it will check that no other circumstances are evident that would lead to fear of significant negative effects on the water balance. That would be This is the case, for example, if the authority is aware of contaminated sites on or near the property that could affect the groundwater. It can then make the permit dependent on the fulfillment of certain requirements for the protection of the groundwater.

Is a permit sufficient or do you need a permit to drill the well?

It can be regulated by state law that boreholes from a certain depth or the construction of water supply systems from a certain delivery rate require a permit.

So it is B. regulated in the Berlin Water Act. According to § 38 BWG you need a permit if you have to build a well deeper than 15 meters or if you want to build a well system that can pump more than 6,000 cubic meters of groundwater per year.

If the use of groundwater could have a negative impact on nearby, groundwater-dependent ecosystems, an obligation to carry out an environmental impact assessment can be laid down in the Water Act or in a subsidiary law. However, the small private well on your own property is unlikely to give rise to such concerns, even if your property is near a nature reserve.

However, you do not need to worry about whether you need a permit or a permit when you report the well construction. If you assumed a permit and the authorities come to the conclusion that you do need a permit, your report will immediately be treated as an application for approval.

Forms and Fees

Via the Internet or by calling your city or local authority, and you can also look up the relevant laws and ordinances in advance on the Internet. However, the responsible authorities usually have practical leaflets ready about the construction of a new private well, which also informs you about how and where you can find the relevant regulations.

There you will also find out where you have to report / apply for the planned well drilling and how you can get the required form, which will have such an attractive name as “Application for the extraction of groundwater for your own water supply”. You will also receive information about which attachments you have to add to the completed form. B. requires a site plan on a certain scale, in which you have to draw the planned well exactly.

You will also be informed of the charges for an advertisement (usually a double-digit amount) and the charges for approval. The fees for a water authority permit are often made dependent on the construction costs for the well, with at least a three-digit minimum fee.

The depth of the well

If you need a permit from a certain depth, that means in practice that you should know how deep your well needs to be before you apply.

Usually there are maps that show the hydrogeological conditions in your home region. If you can read these cards, this is how you can get the information.

If not, the competent authority will surely be able to help you upon request. With detailed groundwater information that tells you whether there is sufficient groundwater under your property and at what depth it can be expected. A fee is then charged again, usually in two digits.

If the competent authority cannot provide this information for a piece of land in Germany, a dowser would still be employed. If you work seriously, you should only take money when the water has been found in the predicted amount and depth. However, in the event of a miscalculation, he will hardly pay the costs of the unsuccessful drilling.

Who is allowed to build the well from when?

Of course, any drilling work may only begin after obtaining a permit or permit. If it is a permit, you can get started yourself, but only if you have the necessary technical skills and know what you need to consider when building a well in order to protect the groundwater. First of all, this means that you must plan and carry out your well construction according to the recognized rules of technology. Then you have to meet the following conditions with regard to groundwater protection:

  • The property and the surrounding area must be free from pollution that could have harmful effects on the groundwater
  • The location for the well must prevent pollutants from entering the groundwater
    • If possible, a green area and under no circumstances an area with traffic
  • sufficient distance to sewer pipes and pipes with potentially water-polluting substances (gas, oil)
    • a minimum of three meters is recommended
  • Well cover must be watertight

If you need a permit for the well construction project, it is usually stipulated that the well may only be constructed by a specialist company for well construction. If a well is to be built in a water protection area, it is usually required that this specialist company can show certain certifications (certification according to worksheet W 120 of the German Association of Gas and Water Industry eV (DVGW) or certification construction eV), this increased qualification is due to the special requirements are required when it comes to drinking water protection.

The right well for your property

In the course of the preparatory work by the authorities, you have at some point gained knowledge of the hydrogeological conditions on / under your property. When the time comes, it will be time to think about the design of your fountain. For the garden you can choose a ramming well, a rinsing well or a drilling well. The first two for shallow development depths and the extraction of not very much water. The borehole for pumping larger amounts of water from almost any depth. Which design is the best depends on the subsoil and the depth of the well. In addition, the required delivery rate and the general purpose of use and should be decided with the expert advice of the well supplier.

The commissioning

If all you had to do was file an advertisement and get your permission without further ado, you can simply bring the first water to the surface, following the instructions of the fountain manufacturer and with a champagne glass in hand.

Wells that require approval usually have to be approved by the responsible water authority. To do this, you are usually allowed to submit a lot of technical documents to the water authority and perhaps also to the regional geology office after the construction is completed. That can be B. be: An overview plan on a certain scale 1: 5,000. A site plan of the property on a different specified scale, on which the well and other groundwater uses within a few kilometers are drawn. Documentation of the drilling that must comply with various DIN standards. A drawing of the drilling profile, also according to DIN. A well construction drawing and a log of the geophysical measurements.

What else you have to pay attention to before, during or after the well construction

  • If you want to build a well on someone else’s property, regardless of whether it is your landlord’s property or an allotment garden, you must ask the owner for consent.
  • In addition, special regulations may have to be observed for allotment gardens, which you will find out when managing your system.
  • Before submitting the official application, you should find out whether your property is in a water protection area. You can also find out about this from the responsible water protection authority.
  • If this is the case, well construction is only possible in exceptional cases. Usually this also costs a hefty exception fee, the construction company needs special certifications. So maybe the whole well construction needs to be reconsidered.
  • If at some point you no longer need the well, you mustn’t just fill it up. It must be dismantled as your state water law provides (and three-digit fees are due again).

You can’t “just drill a well in the garden”. There are a lot of regulations that you have to research and comply with. So it is worthwhile to calculate before the well construction project how much money you can really save and how the effort and costs of well construction can counteract this. These figures could help you: On average, 1,000 liters of water cost us around 2 euros. A statistical average household spends around 450 euros per year on its water. Garden owners usually spend more. If you don’t want to leave your plants thirsty, this can cost several hundred euros per season in irrigation costs. With a somewhat larger plot of land, a well can be worthwhile if you don’t want to switch to a natural garden with micro clover lawns,

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