Groundwater recharge is limited during late spring and summer because trees and other plants use the available water to grow. However, due to lack of rainfall in many areas of the country, we are in the midst of a drought. Natural groundwater levels usually reach their lowest point in late September or October. In late fall, after trees and plants have stopped growing and before snow begins to fall, groundwater levels may rise in response to rainfall and recharge. Groundwater recharge persists through the fall until cold temperatures produce snowfall and frozen soil that limit the ability of water to infiltrate into the ground.
Because so many cities are experiencing record-breaking drought conditions, many areas are requesting (and sometimes requiring) customers to cut back on their water usage. If you own a private well, you might assume that you won’t be affected by the drought conditions. But well water owners actually have more responsibility than their neighbors who have city water. They must keep the water running and manage contaminants.
Below are some common questions about the drought and well water.
How do I tell if my water well is affected by the drought?
Shallow wells run dry easier than deep ones but deep wells do come with some challenges. They might take longer to be affected by the drought conditions, but deep water wells can also take longer to recover from the drought. If your pump is running more than usual or if you see air bubbles coming out of your faucets, it is time for you to implement some water saving techniques. Brief water outages are also another sign that your well water is affected by the drought.
What can I do to conserve water?
Changing your water use habits can significantly reduce water usage. You can do this by simply install water-saving devices throughout your home. Make sure you use a licensed plumbing company to install such devices. You can also do simple things such as flushing the toilet less often, taking shorter showers, only washing full loads of laundry and dishes and collecting water from roof gutters for outside use to conserve water. You can also monitor nearby groundwater levels online so you can detect potential problems early and implement water conservation strategies that may prevent your well from going dry.
How do I use my water well responsibly?
Keep in mind that aquifers are connected and can run for hundreds of miles. This means your well water use affects others in your area. Even though your city might not fine you for having a beautiful green lawn, your well water habits could be depriving others of the water they need. The waiting list for new water wells to be drilled or expanded can run anywhere from 2-4 months. Some people who are on the wait list go without running water while they are on standby.
What about the drought conditions and water contamination?
When water levels in aquifers drop, water contaminants such as arsenic and chromium 6 are naturally present. Other residuals from things such as pesticides, herbicides and other man-made contaminants become more concentrated. This means your well water can go from being safe and drinkable to toxic quickly. Iron and sulfur odors will be present as the water becomes more contaminated. Iron Shield with Toxin Guard can protect against these toxins so you can feel comfortable using your water from your well again. Be sure to contact a licensed plumbing company if this happens.
North County Plumbing has been in the service business since 1970 providing quality plumbing services including leak detection and drain service in northern San Diego County. Our qualified technicians are available 24 hours a day to help with emergency plumbing repair services… with no overtime charges!
If you found this blog helpful, you may want to check out our post “Water Conservation: Plumbing Fixtures to Save Water, Energy and Money“
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