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[Private Well Development]

Navajo Nation TCOB Water Code Section


Ft. Defiance, Arizona 928-729-4132;
Shiprock, N.M. 505-368-1426
Crowpoint, N.M. 505-786-2395



Twelve General Steps for Drilling a Private Well on Navajo Nation Trust Lands

1. Decide the specific area where the well is to potentially be drilled.

2. Locate the potential site on a map; a topographic map is preferred.

3. Talk with local drillers and/or some of our Department's geologists, hydrologists, engineers, and technicians about water depths and availability in the proposed location, and decide whether or not groundwater may be available at the depth you can afford to drill to.

4. Obtain well drilling and water use application forms from this office, and pay a required and non-refundable $25 processing fee for each permit. (These forms have to be completed and approved, with official Water Code staff signatures, before any well drilling can actually take place.)

5. Share the information from number "3," above, with commercial drillers and get price quotes for an appropriate well, casing, windmill, or pump and power hookups, and any necessary storage tank and/or pressure tank. Then decide if it is worth the cost.

6. Get an archaeological clearance done for any new roadway to the proposed drill site and the drill site itself.  This can cost about $300 for a one-acre area.  That is the minimum size needed to be cleared archaeologically for well drilling.  A clearance for an access road or track to the site may cost more.  The Historic Preservation Office of the Navajo Nation can guide you through the archaeological clearance process. Call 928-871-6437.

7. Inform our Civil Engineer or Compliance Officer of details for the proposed project so they may determine if there are environmental or fish and wildlife issues requiring notice to the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency or the Navajo Nation Fish & Wildlife Department.

8. If the well is proposed to be on a home site lease or a "farm plot" (land use permit area), get the leaseholder's or farm plot holder's approval in writing.  Also, copies of the homesite lease documents or the land use permit, if applicable, must be submitted with the well drilling permit application.  If the proposed well is not on a homesite lease, a farm plot, or another officially withdrawn site, then the grazing permitee for the site and probably the local grazing official and council delegate, and perhaps chapter officials, will have to approve.

9. Complete the drilling permit and water use permit applications, submit them to this office, and provide a topographic map with the exact location of the well.  We can assist with the map.  If the applications are approved, and the driller is to take water to drill the well from a source on Navajo Nation land, or if the driller is to import water from off the nation, a separate water use permit will have to be obtained by the driller to use that water source for drilling.

10. The driller must be approved by this office.


12. It is mandatory to provide this office with copies of all well logs and related information within 15 days after the well is drilled.