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  • Writer's pictureKen Campbell

Water



We get our water on the Farm from a 100-year-old, hand-dug well. The well is not very deep; maybe 30 feet. The well serves the farm fine most of the year but it becomes problematic in late summer when there is no rain, the countryside dries up, and the need for water by the animals and the garden is the greatest. July and August are periods of water stress on the farm. As the summers have gotten hotter and drier, [EM1] we have to carefully ration water use to avoid running the well dry. We limit the irrigation of the garden because we have to preserve water for the animals; they get priority.

Given our tenuous water status, we decided to drill a new well that, hopefully, would provide a more reliable year-round water supply. After drilling one dry hole to 300 feet, [EM2] we finally managed to find plentiful water in another hole at 60 feet. The dry hole was a real disappointment[EM3] . We live in a high rainfall area; the farm is in a low-lying meadow; the drainage outflow from two sizable and close-by lakes runs through the middle of the farm pasture, and the lake-discharge creek runs water all year long. One would think that water would be readily available. But, as we discovered from our dry hole, even in this water-rich place, water can be hard to come by.

Now, our problem is that our new well is 450 feet away from the pump house where the central distribution point for delivering water to the various sites on the farm is located.

So, Jay is ditching a trench from the wellhead to the pump house in which to lay the water trunk line and the electrical connection between the power panel, in the well house, and the submerged water pump, in the bottom of the new well. Luckily, Jay has a John Deere tractor with a small excavator (backhoe) and the ditch digging is on its way to being completed. Unfortunately, we are unlikely to get hooked up to the new well before the dry period passes. In the interim, we are using water carefully and have drinking water stashed in the house in case we need it.

The two pictures above show the origin of the water line at the well-head way out in the middle of the south pasture and the destination of the water line at the now remodeled well house; a run of approximately 450 feet.

Such is life on the farm.

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