Possessing a water well on your property has a multitude of benefits, whether you own a small borewell for irrigation or a larger water well for drinking and other purposes. While digging and installing the well is definitely the most difficult and expensive part of the process, maintaining it still requires some effort and is a necessary part of well ownership. Remember, you’re essentially the owner of small water treatment plant. You can keep your water well functioning and safe for use in the long term by monitoring the water level, an easy and inexpensive process. Unsure how necessary this routine maintenance is? Let us break it down.
Water Level Measurements
Whether your water well sees more use from your family, livestock or garden, suddenly developing a shortage can be a big deal. Having to wait a little longer to take a shower or do the dishes may not seem life changing, but not having enough water for your horses during a heat wave is critical. A sudden dip in water level could be the result of several problems, including:
- Pumping more water than the well was designed for.
- Pumping more water than the aquifer (the underground water source) can produce.
- A clogged screen.
There are a few other reasons why water levels could suddenly drop, but these are the most common issues. Best practice includes monitoring your water levels monthly (or quarterly, if necessary). Simply taking a few notes during each measurement helps you discover changes quickly, prolonging the life of your well.
Water Quality Measurements
Measuring the water levels isn’t the only routine maintenance you should perform; regularly checking the quality of the water will protect you from hazardous contaminants that can leach into the ground and affect your water source. Many problems associated with water contamination are visible to the naked eye, including:
- Unpleasant odour or taste.
- Red discoloration in water, on pipes or on clothing.
- Dirty or cloudy water.
- Soap scum on dishes or clothing.
- Scale in water heater or pipes.
- Salty alkali flavour.
The reality is not all contaminants are noticeable through taste, smell and appearance, so having your water analyzed for bacteria on a yearly basis and for chemical parameters every two to five years is essential to keeping your water source clean and sanitary, no matter how you use it. Should there be a regional health concern affecting you, it’s important to test after getting notice of the problem.
Preparing a Sample for Testing
Most chemical tests require you to take a sample of water in a very particular fashion or they won’t be tested at all. Ensuring you get an accurate reading means following the rules to a T. Some of the procedures include:
- Using the correct bottles.
- Pumping for an appropriate length of time.
- Storing the sample properly.
- Submitting the sample in a timely manner.
There’s nothing particularly difficult about taking a sample or having it sent for testing. Make sure you do this as often as the local laws suggest or at least yearly for bacteriological testing and every two to five years for chemical testing.
Owning a water well can make life easier and cheaper for many people. But with every privilege comes the duty to maintain it, and keeping your water well functioning properly by monitoring the water levels and quality ensures your well will continue producing clean, safe water for many years.