CARTHAGE, N.C. — 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.