3 Emergency Steps To Take When Your Well Runs Dry

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Having a reliable source of water is essential for human survival. A dry water well can be a major inconvenience – potentially to an entire community – cutting off access to drinking water and making it impossible to sustain agriculture.

Sputtering faucets, a change in your tap water quality, reduced water flow, murky or muddy-looking water, sediment-heavy water, and a well water pump runninga for longer periods are all signs that your well is running dry.

If your well runs dry, it is important to take the following emergency steps to ensure that you continue to have access to water.

📌 Key Takeaways:

  • If your water well is running dry, assess the situation and determine the cause.
  • Establish temporary solutions for your water supply and implement water conservation measures.
  • You may need to repair or replace a damaged component in your water well system or get your well professionally inspected and deepened.

📝 What To Do If your Well Runs Out Of Water

Step 1: Assess the situation

The first thing to do is to assess the situation and determine the cause of your well’s low water yield.

Follow these steps:

Determine the Cause of the Dry Well

There are many factors that cause private wells to run dry. These include aggressive pump intake from the aquifer, periods of heavy use, or mechanical failure in the well’s electrical system.

A slow decline in the water level is usually caused by heavy use, while a sudden lack of water points to a mechanical issue.

Check the Well Pump and Pressure Tank

The well water pump and the pressure tank are two likely causes of a well that has “run dry”. The pump runs frequently throughout the day, and the pressure tank is always in use, so it’s common for them to wear after several years.

A broken, clogged, or worn-out submersible pump or pressure tank could stop water flowing into your plumbing system, making you think that your well water level has dropped too low.

Well-pump Inspection

Look for Leaks or Damage to the Well System

If you can’t see an issue with the well pump or pressure tank, look for any leaks or other damage to the water well system, including the pipes running from the well into your home.

In some cases, the cause of your well’s declining water depth might not be so obvious when examining the well itself. For instance, the water table might be declining naturally, and the only solution is to drill the well deeper. Or, drought conditions may cause the water depth to drop significantly.

If you can’t determine the cause of a reduced water output from your well, contact a professional well inspector to assess your well and help you reach a conclusion.

Step 2: Implement Temporary Solutions

Once you’ve determined the cause of your reduced well water supply, there are a few options to implement temporarily while you work on a long-term solution.

These include:

Find An Alternative Source Of Water

It’s important that you still have access to clean drinking water, regardless of your well’s issues. If you’re worried that your well will run dry permanently, stop using the groundwater supply and find an alternative source of water.

You could try collecting rainwater in a large container. Be sure to improve the water quality by filtering it before drinking.

You could also look for an alternative source of water, such as a neighbor’s well (make sure to ask permission!) or a nearby river or stream. Again, if you’re specifically looking for a drinking water source, you’ll need to filter and/or disinfect it to make it safe for human consumption.

Using berkey water filter with stream water

Implement Water Conservation Methods

If your water level well is running low but you still have at least some access to water, make sure to conserve the water that you have.

You can do this by reducing your everyday water usage:

  • Only run the washing machine and dishwasher with full loads & hand-wash dishes when possible.
  • Cut your shower times in half.
  • Don’t leave the water running while you brush your teeth or wash dishes.
  • Fix any leaks in your plumbing as soon as possible.

Step 3: Work Towards Long-term Solutions

If you want to save your well from completely drying out, it’s essential that you don’t ignore the warning signs of a declining well water supply. In a worst-case scenario, your water well may need significant work to restore the water levels and increase water flow to your home.

Here are some of the long-term solutions you may need to implement to get more water in a drying-out well.

Repair Or Replace Worn Or Damaged Well Components

If your well’s water issues are actually caused by an old or damaged pump or pressure tank, repairing or replacing the faulty component should resolve the issue.

Hire a well contractor to assess the damage and arrange for a repair or replacement. This will cost anything from $200 to $1,000+, depending on the extent of the problem and the resolution required.

Water well maintenance

Get The Pump Lowered Or Well Professionally Deepened

In some cases, increasing the water output from your well might be as simple as lowering the pump level. Submersible pumps are submerged in the groundwater in the well, but if the water levels drop, the pump may end up sucking in air. You can resolve this issue by getting the pump lowered by a couple of feet.

It’s important to follow the advice of a professional technician. In some cases, lowering the pump isn’t advisable because it interferes with motor cooling.

You might also need to get your water well professionally deepend to find new fractures in the surrounding rock. Your well contractor may recommend hydrofracking as a method of water well deepening, which injects high-pressure water into the rocks around the aquifer. This will open fractures to increase the flow of water.

Make sure to keep detailed records of any work done to you well for future reference.

❔ Well Runs Out Of Water: FAQ

What should I do if my well runs out of water?

If your well runs out of water, assess the problem and determine the cause. Check the pressure tank and well pump to see if they’re causing the issue. Also check the rest of the water well system for leaks and other damage.

How can I find an alternative source of water if my well runs dry?

If your well runs dry, there are a few alternative sources of water you can find. Buy bottled water, or use a neighbor’s well (with permission!) or filter and sterilize water from a nearby river or stream. You could also collect and filter rainwater in a large container.

How can I conserve water if my well runs dry?

There are a few different ways you can conserve water if your well is beginning to dry up. These include fixing plumbing leaks (if you have any), reducing your shower time, avoiding using the dishwasher, only washing full loads in your washing machine, and switching off the faucet while you wash dishes or brush your teeth.

How can I fix a dry well?

Depending on the cause, you can fix a dry well by replacing damaged parts or components, and getting the well inspected and deepened (if necessary) by a professional well construction company. In the meantime, it’s a good idea to establish a backup water source, like a rainwater collection system.

  • 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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