Protect your drinking water well from going dry

Agricultural Disaster Preparedness and Recovery, Drinking Water and Human Health, Drought Resources March 27, 2014 Print Friendly and PDF

When dry or drought conditions exist, water conservation measures could reduce the likelihood of your well going dry.

If your drinking water well goes dry, you need to consider local conditions affecting your well. Is there a drought that is worse than usual? Has this happened during other droughts? Are your neighbors experiencing similar problems? Have you observed other changes in your well, such as changes in taste or smell of the water? Is there a new industrial, commercial, or agricultural water user nearby that is drawing more water than normal? Answers to these questions will help you determine if you have problems due to a falling water table or a failing well. Deepening a well may be beneficial and ensure a more drought-resistant water supply if you have a dropping water table. Deepening a well is not a guarantee, however, that you will get more water. Redeveloping an existing well may also make it more efficient. Hydrofracturing, a technique that uses high-pressure water to open fractures in surrounding rock, and thereby increase water flow, may also improve your water supply.

Contact a licensed well driller in your area for recommendations and assistance to determine which strategy may work best in your situation. Also, exploring water usage with the local department of natural resources may reveal other issues affecting water availability.

Additional resource:

Managing Your Private Drinking Water Well During Drought

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.