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A Guide to Find Out If You Need a Well Permit

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The National Water Resources Protection Map, required for the licensing of domestic and agricultural wells under the amendment to the Water Management Act, has been completed and is available on the website of National Water Directorate (in Hungarian: “Országos Vízügyi Főigazgatóság”). This Protection Map will play a central role in the future licensing of domestic groundwater wells.

According to the Water Management Act, from 1 January 2024, domestic groundwater wells (up to a maximum depth of 50 metres) located in areas that are risk-free from the point of view of water resource protection will be able to be drilled without any permit or notification. Groundwater wells for agricultural irrigation purposes can also be drilled in these risk-free areas in the future on the basis of the simplified procedure - notification and subsequent official approval.

Those areas are considered to be at risk from a water resource protection point of view that fall within the protection areas of operational or remote aquifers or under which karst aquifers are accessible at depths of less than 100 metres. The Protection Map allows to search by parcel number or address. Areas at risk for water resource protection are indicated in red on the Protection Map.

For new wells, the installation of domestic groundwater wells in areas marked in red will be subject to notification from 1 January 2024. In the areas marked in white, groundwater wells can be installed freely. From next year, groundwater wells for agricultural use in the red areas will be allowed to be built under a water permit issued by the National Land Centre, compared to the white areas, where the same wells will be subject to a simpler notification and approval procedure.

For existing wells, shallow groundwater wells are those that do not require any procedure for legalisation. After entering the parcel number in the Protection Map, the depth of the aquifer bed can be displayed by activating the layer list. If the depth of the aquifer at the point where the well is located is higher than the depth of the well, this means that a post-procedure is required.

By Rozsa Rusvai-Darazs, Attorney at law, KCG Partners Law Firm

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