Pennsylvania Groundwater Information System (PaGWIS)



Groundwater Records Online

The redesigned search tool (April 2016) provides online access to individual water well and spring reports and data package downloads through both Multiple Criteria and Map searches. The download package files can be imported into most database and spreadsheet applications. Individual well and spring reports can be saved or printed.


General Information

PaGWIS is a repository of hundreds of thousands of water well records. Most of the well records have been submitted to the Bureau by water well drillers. Act 610, the Water Well Drillers License Act of 1955 (passed on May 29, 1956), began the statewide process of collecting groundwater data through the licensing of water well drillers. Starting in the mid-1960s, drillers sent paper water well completion reports to the Bureau. By the 1980s, reports were being entered into a digital database that has become PaGWIS.

The details of water well records vary with each generation of data entry. Early records entered by the Bureau do not include well addresses or digital images of paper reports, but they do include very approximate coordinates. More than 55,000 records of field-located wells originated from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Batches of backlogged paper records in 2005 and 2015 added more than 200,000 well records. These records have only the digital image of the paper record and basic data entered (owner name, well address, county, municipality, driller, and date drilled). The absence of coordinates means that map-based searches will not include such records; however, the map-based search can include records from municipalities intersected by the search tool by selecting a check box.

Since the 1990s, drillers have submitted proportionally more electronic records through an online application called WebDriller. About 30 days after drillers complete their reports in WebDriller, data are transferred automatically into PaGWIS. This transfer happens weekly. More than 80,000 electronic well completion reports are now in PaGWIS. No images are associated with these reports, but all have coordinates (of varying accuracy).

Pennsylvania has over a million domestic water wells, plus an unknown number of monitoring wells, other types of water wells, and boreholes. Despite many reports that have not been submitted or are incomplete, PaGWIS continues to grow and function as an important source of groundwater data. As resources are available, the Bureau will continue to add records that were originally submitted in paper and assign locations to wells without coordinates. 

Instructions for using PaGWIS Records Online (PDF document). 

The following is a recommended citation for the online database of PaGWIS:

Pennsylvania Geological Survey, [insert current year], Pennsylvania groundwater information system (PaGWIS): Pennsylvania Geological Survey, 4th ser., SQL database ([download date and time]),

Use current date and time; UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) recommended.   

For more information, please contact Stuart Reese, Pennsylvania Geological Survey, at 717-702-2028, or send an email to: RA-NR-PAGWIS@PA.GOV.