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Well Water-Levels Sink as Rain Stays Away

Posted August 20, 2007

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— The drought afflicting at least three-quarters of the state is going underground in the Triangle, draining the reservoirs of wells.

Officials at the state Division of Water Resources said water wells are running low across the state.

Local well companies said they're experiencing a business increase that confirms wells across the Triangle are also running dry.

Landon Phillips, with N.W. Poole Well Co., said he's been getting calls from people across Wake County "saying we are out of water here, out of water there."

An increasing number of residents are drilling new wells or pushing existing holes deeper to hit water again, said Greg Bright, with Wake County's Water Quality Division. Well diggers are going "as deep as 600, 800, even 1,000 feet deep" to find water, Bright said.

"Just because you're on a well, don't think you are immune to the drought," Bright cautioned.

Well water releases residents from following water restrictions that some cities have imposed on their water customers, but that freedom comes with disadvantages.

During drought, well levels do not drop as quickly as surface water does, but the water supply in wells takes longer to be replenished, state officials said. Sediment in water and low pressure may indicate water is running low in a well.

The level of well water in the Triangle is almost as low as it was during the drought of 2002, state officials said. Those low levels could persist into November, according to state estimates.

"The only I really say is, you pray for a long-lasting well and pray for rain," Phillips said.


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  • rc4nc Aug 21, 2007

    We are blessed in N Carolina, one thing we have is plenty of water, We need to conserve as much as possible during the drought. I don't use any water to irrigate grass. When the rain is more plentiful, the grass will come back. I do have plants that have to be watered their first several years. I'm thankful I don't live in a desert like Arizona, New Mexico or Nevada.

  • methinkthis Aug 21, 2007

    The symptoms of uncontrolled and unmanaged growth continue to appear and our leaders seem to be ignoring them. The problem is much bigger than grass watering. What part of the wells drying up is related to rain and what part to continually adding users to the aquifers. Aquifers have to be evaluated over a large area . The question remains: with lakes drying up and wells drying up why are builders still allowed to add new hookups?

  • Run_Forrest_Run Aug 21, 2007

    @RoadGeek said: "Plant bermuda or other drought-tolerant weed."

    Hey I agree with that idea...although I hate Bermuda or wire grass. I have it in my yard - and can't have a flower bed or veggie garden from digging that mess out. Is there any other type of grass that is drought resistant and doesn't spread like wildfire into flower beds?

  • Run_Forrest_Run Aug 21, 2007

    @RoadGeek said: "When the water finally runs out, and people start moving away, what will we do with all these throwaway houses?"

    Unfortunately, the developers don't care. They'll be laughing all the way to the bank. Those who lose their houses will be the ones crying.

  • SS67 Aug 21, 2007

    The state doesn't look at who is using wells around a development when they give the ok for a new well. That's what is happening: new golf courses are causing surrounding wells to run dry. When a well is pumped, the groundwater forms a funnel towards that well. It takes time for the groundwater to flatten out again. This all depends on what's underground: sand gives quick water recharges; clay and rock(like Apex, Durham, North Raleigh) you're screwed. It takes a long time for rain to reach groundwater.

  • emeraldhills69 Aug 21, 2007

    Matthew 24:3 While he was sitting upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached him privately, saying: “Tell us, When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?”

    4 And in answer Jesus said to them: “Look out that nobody misleads YOU; 5 for many will come on the basis of my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. 6 YOU are going to hear of wars and reports of wars; see that YOU are not terrified. For these things must take place, but the end is not yet.

    7 “For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another. 8 All these things are a beginning of pangs of distress.

  • blackdog Aug 21, 2007

    A neighbor of mine drilled a well to fill his swimming pool and lowered the water table 300 feet. We live next to Falls Lake....

  • all4him Aug 21, 2007

    If the housing associations of these fancy subdivisions in Wake county would stop being so vain and telling people that their lawns must be green at all cost, then maybe there wouldn't be a water shortage up there! It's crazy that there are such mandates of such as making sure that your lawn is green year round is just part of the reason I would never want to live in Wake county. I like my freedom too much. If I want to have water to live on instead of keeping my lawn green... I CAN! ;)

  • Jeremiah Aug 21, 2007

    "I have two deep wells. I use one for potable water and the other for irrigation. Never had a problem. The best part is the water does not contain added fluoride or chlorine, which we all know has caused contamination of our precious, bodily fluids."

    yes, please stop using the one for irrigation. but continue to use the potable water for drinking. and kudos to the strangelove reference.

  • Rocknhorse Aug 21, 2007

    I heard someone once report (I think it was Greg Fishel) that water restrictions were a double-edged sword. When you stop all forms of irrigation that may be putting water into the ground, you are preventing that water from being evaporated into the atmosphere, which puts the moisture into the air to cause rain.

    I'm not saying everyone go water your lawns, but I would love to see some more scientific study into this. Wake needs to bite the bullet and find another water source for residents.