DWR Encourages Counties, Communities to be ‘Well Prepared’ to Support Dry Drinking Water Wells


A recently drilled, now operable, water well at Meade Hill Vineyard in Smartsville, Calif. is tested out by owner Mike Lacefield on August 28th, 2015.

A drilled, now operable, water well at Meade Hill Vineyard in Smartsville, Calif. is tested out by its owner. DWR/2015

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – As California continues to experience climate-driven severe drought conditions, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) is providing tools and resources to help communities and domestic well owners prepare for potential well outages and other drought impacts.

“Being ‘Well Prepared’ means that state and local agencies and well owners have an understanding of local groundwater conditions, can identify areas where drinking water supplies may be threatened, and know how to access assistance when it is needed,” said Paul Gosselin, DWR Sustainable Groundwater Management Deputy Director. “To meet the challenges of this current drought and future droughts, DWR is providing new and updated tools to help county drought leaders develop informed solutions that work best for their local communities.”

DWR, in coordination with the State Water Resources Control Board, has launched a new Dry Well Susceptibility Tool that identifies areas in groundwater basins across the state that may be prone to domestic well outages. This tool has been developed as a resource for local monitoring and early warning to help increase general awareness of where domestic water wells may be susceptible to going dry to help communities proactively plan for potential well outages.

DWR has also updated its Dry Well Reporting System, a user-friendly online system for reporting incidents of household drinking water wells that have gone dry due to drought impacts. The Dry Well Reporting System was originally developed during the 2012-2016 drought and based on feedback from counties, the system has been updated to directly and immediately notify local agencies, including county officials, water agencies, and GSAs, when household water supply well outages are reported in their region. The system is available in English and Spanish. DWR encourages local agencies who are responding to drought to sign up in the system (send request to: sgmp@water.ca.gov) so they can be notified whenever a dry well is reported in their county.

In addition to assisting with drought planning and response, both of these tools have value for local well permitting agencies and groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) as they navigate new well permitting requirements contained in Action 9 of Governor Gavin Newsom’s Drought Executive Order N-7-22, and new drought planning requirements contained in Senate Bill 552, passed by the Legislature last year.

With the hotter, drier summer months ahead, California is committed to planning ahead and tracking ongoing impacts of drought and working together with local governments and agencies to identify solutions to protect the health and safety of our communities.

“We cannot let our guard down when it comes to preparing for drought conditions and conserving water,” Gosselin said. “DWR will continue to invest in the latest technologies and data to help the state and locals prepare for and act to protect communities from dire impacts of drought.”

For more information on state drought resources, visit the following websites:


Mary Fahey, Information Officer, Public Affairs, Department of Water Resources
916-820-8083 | mary.fahey@water.ca.gov