If you live in a big city, it's easy to take water for granted. You simply turn on the faucet, and water comes out. You may not even realize that many people in rural areas still rely on individual wells for their water supply. In fact, as a city slicker, well drilling may sound like an antiquated practice that you just do not understand. Here's what you need to know about well drilling.
1. Groundwater is a finite resource.
In other words, water is a resource that can't be replenished quickly enough to meet demand. As population growth continues and droughts increase in prevalence, water becomes scarcer. In many rural parts of the country, well drilling helps manage this finite resource and provides homeowners access to clean drinking water.
2. There are different types of wells.
The type of well you have, shallow or deep, depends on the type of soil you have and how soon you hit water. Homeowners with sandy soil may hit water relatively soon in the drilling process and have a shallow well. Others may hit bedrock and have to dig quite deep before finding a suitable water source.
3. Water quality can vary.
While drilling a well typically yields clean water, it's important to note that the quality can vary depending on what's in the soil and groundwater. Testing the water is critical to ensure it's safe for drinking and won't cause any health issues. While many city dwellers assume all well water tastes terrible, it doesn't. In fact, the taste of well water can run the gamut from bitter to sweet.
4. Proper well maintenance is crucial.
Just because a well has been drilled and water is flowing doesn't mean the job is done. Regular well maintenance is required to ensure a long lifespan and to prevent issues such as water contamination, pump breakdowns, or a well that dries up.
5. Well drilling is a science. Or, is it?
Groundwater hydrology is a complex science that involves understanding how water moves underground and how it interacts with the environment. Drilling wells requires a deep understanding of these principles to ensure that the well is drilled in the right location and provides safe, clean water for years to come.
However, in some parts of the country, homeowners still rely on water dowsing or divining to determine where to drill. This is when a trained diviner holds sticks or rods in front of themselves while walking your land. When the rods cross, there is bound to be water below. While this approach is not scientific, and may or may not work, people have hired diviners for hundreds of years.
While access to water is something you may take for granted, the next time you turn on your faucet, take a moment to appreciate the science behind your access to clean, safe drinking water.