What is groundwater?
Groundwater comes from rain and snowmelt that seeps into the
ground. Gravity pulls the water down through the spaces between
particles of soil or through cracks in rocks. Eventually the
water reaches a depth where all openings in soil or rock are
filled with water. This is called the saturated zone. The
water in the saturate zone is called groundwater.
The top of the saturated zone is called the water table.
The water table rises and falls according to the season and the
amount of rain and snowmelt that has occurred during a
Bedrock below the saturated zone can prevent the water from
penetrating more deeply.
Water moves through
spaces in soil and rock
Different kinds of soil and rock vary in
the size of the spaces for water to move through. Gravel has
very large spaces so water moves through it very fast. On the
other hand, the spaces in clay are so small that almost no water
layers of rock are so solid that they don't let water move
through. Others are very crumbly or have lots of big cracks.
If the cracks are connected to each other, then water can move
thorough the rock.
Types of Aquifers
Groundwater below a layer of solid rock or clay is said to be in
The rock or clay is called a confining layer.
Aquifers that are not below a confining layer are called
Because the top of these aquifers is the water table, they also
are called water table aquifers. In a water table aquifer, the
water level in a well is the same as the water table level
outside the well.
How does this affect my well?
Under persistent dry weather conditions,
the water level in your well may drop below the submersible pump
causing a loss of water.
If the water level permanently drops below
the submersible pump, it may be possible to lower the
submersible pump within the existing well. However, in most
cases this will only provide a short-term solution to the
problem. More permanent solutions require either deepening of
the existing well or drilling of a new well. Be aware that
deepening an existing well may not increase the well yield and
could produce water of different water quality characteristics.
Pumping too much water too fast draws
down the water in the aquifer and eventually causes a well to
yield less and less water and even run dry. In fact, pumping
your well too fast can even cause your neighbor's well to run
dry if you both are pumping from the same aquifer.
Proper management of private wells during droughts will become
more important as competition for water in rural areas
increases. It is critical to implement water conservation
strategies that may prevent your well from going dry.
Home | New Development | Photo Gallery | Well Water Testing | Buckthorn | Brush Removal | Outdoor Watering | Aquifers & Groundwater | State of Our Water
This site was last updated