- Author: Kathy Low
Practicing water conservation in your gardening during this drought is important even if you aren't on metered water. If you live in an unincorporated area of the county like I do, you may get your water from a private well. But unless you have a very deep well, your well could run dry during this predicted historic drought.
I have an old, not too deep well that survived the drought during the seventies with no problem. But back then there were a lot fewer people. Now there are more homes and farmers drawing upon water from private wells, thereby lowering the water table. So I'm cautiously planning my summer vegetable garden with water conservation at the top of my mind. The last thing I need is for my well to run dry.
If you get your water from a private well, there are some warning signs that your well may be going dry. The first sign is the water is sputtering out of the tap, indicating air pockets in the well. The second sign is the water is not clear, but muddy or filled with sediment. But any of you who have been on well water for a long time knows not to panic just yet, because it could be just a problem with your water pump or the piping up to your tank. The only way to be sure your well is going dry is to open the cover to the well and to check the water level. Since this generally involves lowering some type of probe down your well to check the water level, be sure you decontaminate your well after checking the water level.
If you are on a private well, you may want to check out the document A Guide for Private Domestic Well Owners issued by the California State Water Resources Board. You can download a copy from their website at www.waterboards.ca.gov.
Do you need help troubleshooting or repairing your well system, or drilling a new well? If so, the Solano County website lists area licensed contractors. You can click through to the list at http://www.solanocounty.com/depts/rm/environmental_health/technical/well_n_on_site_sewage_disposal_program/default.asp.