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In addition to using rainwater, your own well is a good way to save drinking water and supply your own garden. But to what depth do you actually have to drill?

In a nutshell

  • the necessary drilling depth depends on the groundwater level
  • the groundwater level varies greatly from subsoil to subsoil
  • each drilling must be applied for and approved in advance

How deep is the groundwater?

The question of the necessary depth for your production well can be answered very simply: you have to drill deep enough to reach the groundwater.
Well, it's not quite that simple. Because how deep is the groundwater? And where can I get this information?
How far you have to penetrate to a water-bearing layer in the ground depends on a wide variety of factors:

  • Proximity to open water, such as rivers or lakes (the closer, the shallower the drilling depth)
  • Geological conditions (e.g. highly permeable subsoil - lower groundwater level)
  • topographical condition of the drilling site (slopes or high altitudes usually with large drilling depths)
  • Weather (falling groundwater level in dry years)

The best thing to do is to get more information from your responsible office for water management and soil protection. All known information on groundwater levels, soil conditions and other relevant framework conditions is collected here.

Drinking water or service water?

Another factor for the "correct" drilling depth of your well is the way in which you intend to use the extracted water later. For simple garden irrigation, it is sufficient if you can reach groundwater at all. For use as drinking water, however, you should penetrate to greater depths, as this gives the surface water more time to migrate through different layers of soil and clean itself after seepage.

Notice: Drilling a drinking water well is only permitted in Germany in exceptional cases. Normally, drinking water must be obtained from the public supply network.

Which depth is correct?

Of course, you also want to know the numbers, the depths and, ultimately, of course, the effort you have to reckon with for your well. If the groundwater level is very high, i.e. near a river, you can come across groundwater after just a few meters. Nevertheless, penetrate at least three to four meters deep in order to avoid the near-surface fluctuations that always occur, even with very damp substrates. With low groundwater levels, however, it can also happen that you have to penetrate far into the two-digit meter range. The important thing is that you don't just "drill at it" until you hit water. Obtain clear guidelines from the responsible office already mentioned as to how deep your penetration must be in order to ensure that the removal is as permanent as possible.

Notice: Drill your holes in such a way that there is at least a water column of around 2 meters above the extraction point. Then the weight of the water supports the priming process of your pump. Your technology will thank you in the long run.

Theory and practice - the drilling permit

You have now twice encountered the Office for Water Management and Soil Protection as the responsible authority. In addition to the function of an information center, this office has another, much more important task: it is the responsible body for issuing the necessary permits for your well. Because in Germany you need a permit for every drilling in the subsoil and every withdrawal of water.
Typically, you must include the following information with your application:

  • location of the hole
  • Planned depth (usually in coordination with the office)
  • withdrawal quantity
  • purpose of use
  • Technical details of drilling and wells

frequently asked Questions

Why do I need a permit for a private production well?

As the basis of our water supply, groundwater enjoys a high protection status. Private drilling is only permitted if there is no risk of damage to the soil, groundwater level or water quality.

Why can't I pump drinking water?

Pumping drinking water from your own well is only permitted if the supply is not available from the public mains. The background is the enormous effort with which the quality of your pumped water prescribed for drinking water must be checked and ensured.

How much effort does it take to drill a well yourself?

For the drilling alone, the effort varies greatly depending on the depth required. If you only drill a few meters, a simple hand drill may suffice. Above 10 meters, a complex drilling device, usually mounted on an excavator, is indispensable. The costs are then based on the rental fees and possible fees for specialist staff. Contact a qualified drilling company at an early stage and have them make you an offer.

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