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Well-Users Turning More to Drillers for Drought Help

Posted October 24, 2007

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— The drought is driving water-seekers underground, and well-drillers’ business is booming.

Shallow wells are running dry, and residents need to drill deeper to get their water back. In some cases, drilling companies are back-logged for weeks and are trucking water to customers to hold them over.

Even working into nighttime hours, the drillers keep pushing pipe down until something comes up. Drilling crews like Benford Graham's team from Graham & Currie Well Drilling are having to dig deep.

"We are trying to work longer hours to do things that are necessary to meet the demand as much as possible," Graham said.

He is also looking at other ways to help customers get by until a drill rig can get to them.

"We try to supply them, if possible, with a tank and bring them water to survive on," Graham said.

Daryl Hardwick and his wife have been surviving on a 1,000-gallon tank mounted on a trailer while Graham tried to rush a drill crew to their Moore County home. Hardwick bought the ranch a few months ago, and water began to run short not long after.

As the drought worsened, Hardwick's 60-foot-deep well gave out. He now has a new well that should soon start producing more water. It is more than 700 feet deeper than the on he had before.

While Hardwick feels that striking water is like striking gold, he is not about to start spending it wildly.

"There is no irrigation … there will be no more watering the lawns or anything like that," he said.

Although wells do not fall under current water restrictions, Gov. Mike Easley has urged well users to conserve just like those who depend on municipal systems. Some shallow wells can pull from reservoirs and lakes used for municipal water.

16 Comments

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  • 2beornot2be Oct 25, 2007

    Everyone is missing the point. Water wells pull water from a water table. If everyone wastes water, WE WILL ALL PAY. In the years to come a 280 foot well will need to be 800 + feet deep (8.00 per foot +) The more population density, the water table goes lower, you dig deeper to find water. With the population boom around here looks like well drillers are going to have booming businesses for a long time!!

  • scooperhsd Oct 24, 2007

    We've been on a well since we moved into this house in 1995. about 5 or so years ago, Franklin County ran public water by our house - we paid for our tap, but we are not on the system. If the well goes dry - we will almost certainly be hooking up to the county water system. In the meantime - it's conserve, conserve, conserve !

  • djofraleigh Oct 24, 2007

    I see no reason why someone on a deep well should not enjoy the benefit during this drought and use all the water they need without guilt. When their pipes break or freeze or lightning hits their pump, the rest of us don't do without for their sake.

  • 2beornot2be Oct 24, 2007

    doggie: depends on the well drilling company and whether you're in bedrock or sand silt. Since we are in a sandsilt area the well driller was afraid the well may collapse by drilling deeper so he recommended a new well. I've been using my well for 2 years and it has always delivered some sediment (see most of it in the toilet tank). Measure your well to see how much water you have in it to see if there is more sediment in your water or if the water table has dropped.

  • doggie Oct 24, 2007

    If your well goes dry, can you just dig the same hole deeper, or do you have to start all over again from the surface? I am getting worried about ours because there's alot of silt in the water lately.

  • Proud2BUS Citizen Oct 24, 2007

    I am glad to read that there are well users - conserving water. I get upset when I see signs in peoples yards stating that they are using well water to water their plants and lawns. I wonder do they not realize we are all on the same water table.

    ENJOY THE RAIN!!!

  • Con Amor Oct 24, 2007

    cpt. mercury:::I know that it works.I have seen 4-or-5 family members use this method,and we also used this method when we dug our well.Yes there is water just about anywhere you dig,but how much and how far down is important.We hit OVER 100 gallons per min.The well diggers think we may have hit an underground river(I didnt know there was such a thing).Please try it before you knock it.Take the water in the bucket test.I garantee that if you are doing it right,the rods will find the water.

  • Capt Mercury Oct 24, 2007

    I have to ask this. Do many people really believe in this "water witching" stuff? If so, how do you think it works? Sounds like "faith-based" well drilling to me.

    I've had geologists tell me that you can drill just about anywhere around this part of the world and hit water, eventually. The only question is how much water you will get and how deep you have to go for it.

  • PlanetX Oct 24, 2007

    We have a well also - so far, so good. Keeping my fingers crossed. =)

  • 2beornot2be Oct 24, 2007

    con amor: my father calls that witching a well. It worked for me. 2 years ago I used this method and the well driller hit 1 gpm at 50 feet. Its been ok for a family of 5, but we got a HE washer to conserve water. He dug it to 280 ft for storage. I pray it survives this drought. They were 3-5 weeks backed up then.

    whatelseisnew: Its 8 per foot if you hit water. Dry holes are cheaper. 22-25 per foot is because if you line your well it drives the cost up. Each to his own, I chose not to which has a higher risk of caving in (sand silt well). It took 3 weeks l

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