Capitol Complex Construction

If you are planning to visit the Railroad Commission’s Austin offices in the William B. Travis state office building, please be aware of changes to traffic patterns and the availability of metered parking in the area due to the Capitol Complex Construction project.  Click here for additional information.

Groundwater Advisory Unit (GAU)

NOTICE: As part of the RRC Texas Oilfield Relief Initiative, the GAU has identified areas with consistent groundwater protection depths in the following fourteen (14) North Central Texas counties: Archer, Baylor, Callahan, Foard, Haskell, Jones, Knox, Shackelford, Stephens, Taylor, Throckmorton, Wichita, Wilbarger, and Young. Go to our North Central Texas Area page for more information.

GAU provides Groundwater Protection Determinations for surface casing, underground injection and other underground activities.

If you are an oil or gas operator in Texas, the Railroad Commission of Texas may require you to obtain a Groundwater Protection Determination, which states the base of usable-quality groundwater and
additional isolation zones that should be protected for a well or multiple wells within a specified area.

Groundwater Protection Determination Request (Form GW-1)

To request a Groundwater Protection Determination, submit the following documents:

  1. A Form GW-1, which can be completed in two different ways:
    • By online filing (RRC Online System)
      • Google Chrome 37.0+ is recommended. Other browsers cause known technical issues.
      • JavaScript must be enabled.
      • Pop-up blocking software must be disabled.
    • Using the Interactive PDF
  2. A scaled map showing the well location and surrounding survey lines;
  3. A copy of the electric log, if you are plugging, re-entering an existing well, or converting to a water well (Form-P13Application of Landowner to Condition an Abandoned Well for Fresh Water Production); and
  4. Application fee (Expedited fee, optional)
For detailed information regarding the Form GW-1 on the Online System refer to the Groundwater Application User's Guide. The online Groundwater Application will only allow oil and gas operators who have registered with the Railroad Commission of Texas by filing an annual Organization Report (Form P-5). If you are not a registered P-5 operator, you will be required to submit the Form GW-1 using the Interactive PDF format version. For instructions on filing the Form GW-1 by PDF go to the Instructions for Completing Form GW-1 (PDF) page.

Groundwater Protection Determination (Form GW-2)

The Groundwater Advisory Unit (GAU) provides three types of Groundwater Protection Determinations.

Groundwater Protection Determination

  • This type of Groundwater Protection Determination, where possible, provides top and bottom of fresh water, which is generally less than 1,000 mg/L total dissolved solids (TDS), and
  • The Base of Usable-Quality Water (BUQW), generally 3,000 mg/L TDS or less and other waters known to be used or identified as sources of desalinization water.
  • This type of Groundwater Protection Determination is used for new drills, cathodic protection, re-entry, well integrity test, microseismic boreholes, injection into a producing zone, plug and abandon, and conversion of an oil and gas well to a water well.

Groundwater Protection Determination for Saltwater Disposal Wells

  • This type of Groundwater Protection Determination provides the base of the Underground Source of Drinking Water (USDW), less than 10,000 mg/L TDS, and
  • Verifies geologic isolation from the Base of Usable-Quality Water (BUQW).

Groundwater Protection Determination for Seismic Survey

  • This type of Groundwater Protection Determination provides a range of depths for the Base of Usable-Quality Water (BUQW) across the seismic survey.

Expected Processing Time Frames

Groundwater Protection Determinations are intended to be processed in accordance with the following timelines after the application is determined to be administratively complete:

  • Non-expedited letter ($250): ten (10) business days,
  • Expedited letter ($437.50): four (4) business days.
  • Save time and money by selecting Areal Extents to cover multiple wells with a single Groundwater Protection Determination.


  1. Effective February 1, 2016, an application fee of $100 is required for a Groundwater Protection Determination. The application fee is also subject to a 150 percent ($150) surcharge required by Statewide Rule 78(n). Therefore, a total of $250 must be remitted to the Railroad Commission of Texas with each Form GW-1, Groundwater Protection Determination Request Form. For additional information, reference the Notice to Operators: Groundwater Protection Determination Application Fee and Surcharge. Additional fees apply to expedite the application.
  2. An expedite fee of $75 is required for an expedited Groundwater Protection Determination. The application fee is also subject to a 150 percent ($112.50) surcharge required by Statewide Rule 78(n). Therefore, a total of $187.50 must be remitted to the Railroad Commission of Texas to expedite each Form GW-1. The application fee plus the expedite fee after a surcharge of 150% is a total of $437.50.
  3. Expedited processing is not available for Saltwater Disposal or Seismic Survey determination letter requests.
  4. A scaled map showing the well location and surrounding survey lines can be created and printed using the Railroad Commission of Texas' Public GIS Viewer. This viewer will allow you to locate and retrieve details for an existing well and determine the coordinates for a proposed well.

Last Updated: 3/5/2018 4:50:39 PM