Contact us:

PMB 2020

Water Rights

Joe Foss Building

523 E Capitol

Pierre, SD 57501


Pierre office:

8am to 5pm Central

(605) 773-3352 ph.

(605) 773-4068 fax

email us


Photo of Joe Foss building

Driving directions

Water Rights Program

Jeanne Goodman, Chief Engineer

email | staff directory

In South Dakota all water is the property of the people and the right to use of that water is through obtaining a water right. A water right is needed for all uses of Water Rights Primerwater except for domestic uses. For a general description of water rights permitting, please visit using water in South Dakota. A short "South Dakota Water Rights Primer" is also available for printing or viewing online.


Water rights in South Dakota are managed by:

  • monitoring ground water levels in over 1,600 observation wells
  • monitoring stream flows with 52 gauging stations
  • collecting water use data annually.


This information is used to determine whether water is available to meet existing and proposed water uses and to manage water resources during drought conditions.


South Dakota stream

Other areas of service include:

  • safety of dams
  • well driller and well pump installer licensing
  • well construction/plugging standards
  • control/plugging of flowing wells
  • ordinary high and low water marks and outlet elevations on public lakes
  • flood control permits
  • chemigation
  • stream fencing
  • weather modification
  • monitor Missouri River issues involving operation of the mainstem reservoirs by the US Army Corps Engineers