If you live on the lower West Coast and own a well, you're likely concerned about your ability to keep water flowing to your home without permanently compromising your well or requiring pump replacement. Is there anything you can do to keep your well pumping and in good condition? What can you do to reduce your home's water consumption? Read on to learn more about preserving your well during severe drought conditions.
What can you do to protect your well during a drought?
Whenever your area is suffering drought conditions, it's important to be aware of your groundwater level, the depth of your well, and the depth of your well pump so that you can spot potential problems before they occur. In order for your well's pump to properly function, it will need to be completely submerged in groundwater. If the groundwater level drops below the pump, you could find yourself running out of water indoors; and if your pump is permitted to run "dry" for an extended period of time, it could be rendered inoperable.
The easiest way to weather a late-summer drought (with end in sight) is to have your pump lowered a few feet or yards to buy yourself some time. If groundwater levels don't drop further, you should be able to use water without interruption or damage to your pump.
If it looks like you're facing an extended drought, you may want to look into having your well deepened. This can allow you to relocate your pump much lower than the groundwater level, ensuring constant access to water during even severe drought conditions. If you've already had your pump lowered and groundwater levels continue to drop, this may be your best next step. Contact a well drilling service for more help with this.
What are your most effective ways to reduce water usage?
The easy ways to reduce water usage are by targeting the four major water-using activities -- bathing/showering, flushing toilets, washing dishes, and doing laundry. Water usage in all these areas can be significantly lowered by investing in low-flow appliances (shower heads, toilets, washing machines) or washing dishes by hand with only a small amount of water. You may also wish to place a bucket in your shower and re-use this "grey water" to flush toilets or water plants.
If there are multiple people in your household, you may also want to invest in a shower timer and place limits on family showers. By reducing each household member's water usage to a few gallons a day, you'll be able to sustain your whole family's water needs on a fairly limited supply.