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We live in a rural area and our indoor and outdoor water source is a flowing artesian well. It's only August, and the well is no longer "flowing." What has to happen for the well to start producing water?

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"We live in a rural area and our indoor and outdoor water source is a flowing artesian well. It's only August, and the well is no longer "flowing." We're still able to get water indoors via a pressure pump/holding tank (it takes our pump about 5 minutes to refill the water holding tank after one "flush"), but fear that will soon end. Any suggestions? Also, what has to happen for the well to start producing water?"

I suspect that you are experiencing temporary loss of water pressure from your well because of this year's drought conditions. As you probably know, the source of an artesian well is groundwater that is under pressure. As a result, when you tap into this groundwater region (called an artesian aquifer), the water flows freely at the surface. Under drought conditions, groundwater levels may drop, causing a reduction in the underground pressure on your water source. Because of this, the water is no longer flowing freely at the surface. For the water to begin flowing again, the groundwater source needs to recharge. In other words, we need rain (or snow) that will soak into the ground and eventually restore the water to your aquifer. I can't predict when your well will begin flowing again because I don't know the exact conditions of your site. How fast the aquifer recharges depends on many things, including local soils, underlying geology, other groundwater sources, etc. You might try not using the artesian well at all for a few days. If the pressure seems to come back fairly quickly, you may get pressure restored to your well relatively soon once we get some rain again. Keep in mind, however, that water movement through the ground is very slow compared to water movement on the surface. Meanwhile, you have several options until the pressure in your well is restored: 1. You can take care of some of your water needs by using bottled or stored water; 2. You can use an alternative source of water (such as trucking in water) to fill your holding tank; 3. You can explore pumping water from your artesian well source; 4. You can explore putting in a new well. For the last two options, you will need to contact a well digger or pump installer to discuss this with you. Your local Utah Water Rights offices keep a list of licensed water well drillers in your area. Their numbers are: Cedar City: 435-586-4231; Logan: 435-752-8755; Price:435-637-1303; Richfield: 435-896-4429; Salt Lake: 801-538-7240; and Vernal: 435-781-5327. The Utah Division of Water Rights in Salt Lake City (801-538-7240) can verify that a contractor is licensed and bonded. Remember, if you store water, be careful to use a clean container and treat it as needed. Check out the Water Storage fact sheet on the Extension Web site (FN 176). If you develop a new well, you will also want to get the well tested. Contact your local Health Department for assistance.

Posted on 12 Sep 2006

Nancy Mesner
Program Leader, Water quality Specialist

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