Agricultural Well Water: The Ultimate Guide

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An effective way to gain access to a steady supply of water for agricultural purposes is to drill a well on your property.

Here, we’ve shared everything you should know about agricultural wells.

📌 Key Takeaways:

  • An agricultural well is a hole that’s drilled into the ground to access water for agricultural purposes.
  • The most common uses of agricultural well water are for feeding livestock and supplying irrigation systems.
  • Agricultural wells are cost-effective in the long term and provide a reliable on-site water supply, but they’re expensive to drill and have capacity limitations.

❔ What Is An Agricultural Well?

An agricultural well is a private well that’s used specifically for agricultural purposes.

Like domestic water wells, agricultural wells are drilled into the ground (the depth of the well depends on the location of the aquifer), and have a diameter of about 6 inches.

The water pumped from an agricultural well may be used to irrigate crops or land, or supply water to livestock. It can also be used to water lawns and yards.

The big difference between domestic water wells and agricultural wells is that domestic wells provide potable water that’s safe to drink, while the water supply from an agricultural well shouldn’t be used by humans for drinking.

Agricultural well

🤔 Who Needs An Agricultural Well?

You would benefit from an agricultural well if you have a farm and you currently use municipal water or transport water from a surface water source, and you want a more convenient, cost-effective solution for accessing water on-site.

You might use an agricultural well for the following purposes:

  • Providing livestock water
  • Supplying water for an irrigation system
  • Watering domestic grounds and gardens
  • Any other agricultural use

✅ Advantages Of Drilling An Agricultural Well

Here are some of the benefits of agricultural well drilling on your property.

Reliable Water Supply

If you live in a rural region, accessing a reliable water supply may be difficult. An agricultural well provides the solution to this problem because it should give you access to quality water year-round (as long as the well is deep and big enough), even during periods of severe drought.

Consistent Water Quality

The water quality of surface waters fluctuates and may be unsafe to use for watering crops and feeding animals. Groundwater from an agricultural well is less susceptible to pollution or contamination because it’s protected by layers of rock, which filter out contaminants as water flows into the aquifer. That means the water is safer to use for agricultural purposes.

Locally Available Water

Having an agricultural well on your property is the more convenient alternative to transporting water from other sources. You have less infrastructure to maintain, and you can save on transportation costs.

Drilling an agricultural well


Although the initial agricultural well drilling costs are high, drawing water from an on-site well is a much more cost-effective long-term solution than using a municipal water supply or getting water delivered to your facility.

Multiple Use Cases

You can use agricultural wells for any purpose, including supplying livestock water, providing water for agricultural irrigation systems, watering household gardens, and any other non-potable farming uses.

⛔️ Disadvantages Of Drilling An Agricultural Well

There are a few disadvantages of agricultural wells that you should also be aware of.

Expensive Upfront Cost

Agricultural well drilling costs thousands of dollars. While wells are inexpensive to operate, the upfront cost of the well materials, equipment, and labor are high. The bigger the well, the higher the costs. Your budget might not be able to stretch to the well size and capacity that you need.

Capacity Limitations

Depending on the size of your agricultural property and your water demands, an agricultural well might not be big enough for all your needs. If you use water excessively, it may cause the well to dry up. Very large farms may need multiple wells, or they may need to use another water source (such as a surface water source) to avoid putting too much pressure on a single well.

Needs Electricity

Another potential setback of an agricultural water well is that it needs electricity to give you access to the water. The well pump relies on electricity to draw water from the aquifer, so if you live in an area with regular power outages, you’ll need a backup generator to make sure you always have water when you need it.

Well pump relies on electricity to draw water from well

Requires Inspections/Maintenance

Like any well, an agricultural well requires maintenance over its years of operation. Failing to perform proper maintenance may result in the well falling into disrepair, which could compromise the water quality or make the well unusable.

🚰 How Much Water Does An Agricultural Well Provide?

The amount of water provided by a well water system depends on several factors, including:

  • The size of the well (how many inches in diameter)
  • The well depth (how many feet below the ground)
  • The size & depth of the water table
  • The size of the aquifer’s recharge area
  • The amount of rainfall
  • The pump depth

When drilling an agricultural well, you’ll need to work out your daily water needs and determine with your well contractor whether the well will provide enough water to meet all your demands, or whether you should use a well to supplement other water sources rather than solely relying on one source.

🧫 What Does Agricultural Well Water Contain?

There are several impurities and contaminants that water from an agricultural well might contain.

Common agricultural well contaminants are:

  • Fine sand and sediment
  • Minerals and metals
  • Pesticides & herbicides
  • Nitrates & nitrites
  • Microbiological contaminants

The quality of the well water depends on the depth of the well, quality of the well construction, the local geology, and whether there are any nearby sources of possible contamination (such as septic systems and silos).

Generally, agricultural wells provide clean water, but this water isn’t guaranteed to be potable, which is why it shouldn’t be used as a drinking water source for humans.

Quality of well water

📋 4 Factors To Consider When Drilling An Agricultural Well

When hiring a contractor to drill an agricultural well, consider the following things:

Your Location

The location of the well is essential to accessing the best quality water and avoiding problems associated with declining water levels in your region.

The ground and soil on your property will help in determining where you can safely drill a well. The well should also be drilled at a suitable distance from silos and septic systems, chemical storage sheds, and other potential sources of contamination.

Well Size & Depth

Your well contractor should perform an inspection of the land beneath your property to determine the required well depth depending on the depth of the water table.

Most wells for agricultural use are about 6 inches in diameter and at least 50 feet deep, depending on the aquifer location and your water needs.

Water Pressure/Flow

The water flow and pressure of the well is determined by the pump size and power. You need enough agricultural water to adequately supply irrigation water and provide you with enough water needed for livestock feeding at any time.

You can use an accurate flow meter in an irrigation system to provide an accurate volume of water and to reduce drawdown (which will reduce flow rate because the pump will require greater lift).

Checking well water flow rate

Water Treatment

Since agricultural well water isn’t used for human drinking, you’ll often be able to use the water without considering treatment.

But if your well water is particularly dirty or sediment-rich, this sediment could clog your irrigation equipment, including sprinklers and pressure regulators, so you might need a sediment filter to remove debris in your water prior to use on your farm.

🔚 Final Word

Drilling an agricultural well has numerous benefits, despite its upfront cost.

Hopefully, you now know the basics about agricultural water wells, including what they are, their benefits and setbacks, and an overview of what to consider if you’re considering agricultural well drilling.

  • Brian Campbell
    President & CEO, CWS, CWR

    Brian Campbell, a WQA Certified Water Specialist (CWS) and Certified Water Treatment Representative (CWR) with 5+ years of experience, helps homeowners navigate the world of water treatment. After honing his skills at Hach Company, he founded his business to empower homeowners with the knowledge and tools to achieve safe, healthy water. Brian's tested countless devices, from simple pitchers to complex systems, helping his readers find the perfect fit for their unique needs.

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