One of the most important aspects of buying a rural residential property in Colorado is understanding the water supply. Most country homes not serviced by municipal water are supplied by a spring or a well. I’ll save springs for a future discussion and will focus on the two most common types of wells found in northwest Colorado.
Domestic wells are typically associated with rural residences. These kinds of wells allow normal, indoor use in one to three residences. The permit should outline number of residences allowed to be served by the well. A domestic well also usually allows for watering of a few head of livestock as well as irrigation of a lawn or garden. Irrigation is often limited and the permit will also outline this limitation. The permit will also include information about the depth of the well and the associated well test report often includes pumping rate.
With the increasing demand on Colorado’s water supply, much of the state has been designated as over appropriated. In these areas, it is common to find rural property wells that are household use only. This type of permit allows for typical indoor residential use but does not allow any outdoor use such as watering a horse or two, watering a flowerbed, washing a vehicle or even filling a hot tub. Household use only wells are also often found on parcels smaller than 35 acres.
Investigating the uses and limitations will help determine if a property is a good fit for your intended use. There are several types of wells and water sources that can be associated with a particular property. The permit and/or water right should describe the allowed uses. The Colorado Division of Water Resources has a great website with information on wells, water rights and water administration.