The goal of a wellhead protection program is to identify, manage and protect the land areas that contribute groundwater to drinking water wells. When our drinking water is pumped into the water system from a groundwater well, the water within the aquifer is drawn towards the well. The size and shape of these aquifer areas supplying our wells depends on the unique characteristics of the aquifer as well as the pump. Using information from groundwater models and local hydrogeologic data, the boundaries of these groundwater recharge areas can be accurately identified.

Typically we identify the 5-, 50-, and 100-year capture zone boundaries contributing to a well's supply. Identifying these zones allows preventative measures to be established that prohibit or restrict future land-uses that have the potential to contaminate groundwater. Also, investigations to identify existing or historic land uses and potential contamination sources are documented so groundwater monitoring or management needs can be established.

The City of Madison has enacted ordinances to define and protect the wellhead protection zones for all 22 active wells. For more information on Madison's local ordinances related to wellhead protection, visit MGO Chapter 13 - Public Water Supply System (Section 22) or MGO Chapter 28 - Zoning Code (Section 107).

Monitoring Wells

Madison Water Utility uses monitoring wells to obtain representative groundwater quality samples and hydrogeologic information. They are generally located between a known or suspected source of groundwater contamination and a water supply well so contaminant plumes are detected before they reach the water supply.

Wellhead Protection Plans

In accordance with the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources established a statewide wellhead protection program that requires a wellhead protection plan to be developed for any municipal well proposed after May 1992 - which includes three of Madison's 22 active wells. The Madison Water Utility however, has voluntarily completed wellhead protection plans for all active wells in our system. If you are interested in viewing one of Madison Water Utility’s wellhead protection plans and/or associated materials please contact our Water Quality Section at (608) 266-4654 or email

Well Area Served Map
Well 6 * Near West Map
Well 7 North, Near East Map
Well 8 * Near East Map
Well 9 East, Southeast Map
Well 11 East Map
Well 12 West Map
Well 13 North Map
Well 14 West Map
Well 15 East, Northeast Map
Well 16 West Map
Well 17 * Central Map
Well 18 South Map
Well 19 Near West Map
Well 20 Southwest Map
Well 24 Central, Near East Map
Well 25 Far East Map
Well 26 Far West Map
Well 27 * Near West Map
Well 28 * Far West Map
Well 29 Far East Map
Well 30 South Map
Well 31 South Map

* Seasonal well that typically operates during higher demand summer months.