Well Permitting/Ordinance 14

New Well Construction Acknowledgment Form

The Mojave Water Agency (MWA) along with San Bernardino County manage groundwater wells within the MWA’s service area. MWA’s service area covers a large portion, about 4,900 square miles, within San Bernardino County. *See map below showing MWA service area.*

The County provides MWA with copies of well permit information for the purposes of basin health and management of water supplies. MWA requires that a notice of intent to extract or divert water be filed with Mojave Water Agency at least 15 days prior to water well construction. Failure to file the Notice of Intent to Extract or Divert Water shall be punishable by a civil fine of not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500). Both the person owning the land or an interest therein and the person constructing the well or diversion facility shall be assessed under this subdivision. (Section 97-39, Mojave Water Agency Law).

MWA and the County have worked together to make this process easy and available to all those wishing to drill groundwater wells within the MWA service area. MWA’s “New Well Construction Acknowledgement Form” is provided on the County’s website to comply with MWA’s rules related to new wells (https://ehs.sbcounty.gov/applications-forms-and-fees/). This form is also provided below. The completed form should be returned to the County and MWA when submitting the well permit application.

Some wells will be subject to MWA’s Ordinance No. 14 (see below).

Ordinance 14

MWA adopted Ordinance No. 14 (see below) related to new Minimal Producers (small water users with new wells) within the Mojave Basin area. Ordinance 14 was adopted on April 14, 2022 and became effective July 1, 2022. Water wells permitted within the Mojave Basin Area starting July 1, 2022 and after are affected by this Ordinance.

Under Ordinance 14, new wells are subject to an annual assessment for the replacement cost of one-acre foot of water. The cost for replacement water is determined annually (see below). The replacement assessment is placed on the San Bernardino County property tax rolls for collection purposes. Proceeds are used to purchase water to recharge the in the various regions within the Mojave Basin Area.

Under the current terms of Ordinance 14, annual water use is limited to 10 acre-feet or less per year (1 acre-foot = ~325,851 gallons) and all water use is restricted to the property where the well is located. If water production exceeds 10 acre-feet of water in any given year, an action with the presiding Court may take place to enjoin the water production into the Mojave Basin Area Judgment, which could result in additional assessments and regulations.

Wells drilled outside the Mojave Basin Area are not subject to Ordinance 14. See map below showing the affected area.

Water Rates

Fiscal YearAmount per Acre-Foot