Jan 26, 2012

NGWA Offers Advice to Water Well Owners in Drought Areas of Southern U.S.

Drought conditions across southern U.S. can impact well owners’ water supplies

As drought or near-drought conditions stress southern states from coast to coast, people dependent on water wells may need to assess or address the impact on their water supplies, the National Ground Water Assn. (NGWA) said in a press release.

“There are some simple diagnostic steps well owners can take if they experience problems with the productivity of their well,” said Cliff Treyens, NGWA director of public awareness. “An accurate diagnosis of a problem is key to an effective solution.”

A brief assessment in the southern U.S. found that land in states from California, Nevada and Arizona to Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina were all experience varying degrees of drought conditions as of mid-January.

NGWA is advising well owners in areas of water scarcity to take the following steps:

• Understand drought and water wells: The type of aquifer from which well owners are drawing water can make a difference. Wells typically do not go dry all at once. Rather, they slowly get worse due to lack of recharge. Often older wells that were drilled only into the top of an aquifer and did not penetrate the full thickness of the aquifer are the wells most likely to fail first.
• Diagnose loss of a water well’s productivity: A well’s loss of productivity may be due to reasons other than a lowering of the water table. A qualified water well system contractor can determine the cause.
• Address loss of productivity: When the problem is not a lowered water table, a well sometimes can be rehabilitated to yield substantially more water. Other times, when the problem is a lowered water table, the well can be drilled deeper to extend its depth back below the water table. However, deepening a well does not guarantee more water.
• Use well water wisely: Many people in drought areas are being resourceful in cutting back on water use, recycling water or harvesting water to meet certain needs. Sufficient storage of water can also offset a low-producing well.