But while stockpiling water is important, it’s equally important for you to have some sort of self-sustaining water source that you can turn to in the event that your stockpile runs out. After all, you never truly know how long a disaster scenario is going to last.
One of the most effective ways that you can have your own self-sustaining water source is to dig a well. Yes, it will require a lot of time, effort, and dedication on your part to build one. You may also have to dig your well significantly deeper than most depending on your location. But all of that hard work on your part will be well worth it in the end because there is simply no better way to ensure that you and your family will always have good, clean water for when disaster strikes.
In this article, we will talk about some of the most effective ways for digging a well.
METHODS FOR DIGGING A WELL
The majority of wells that are built today are drilled, such as the one here in this video:
As you may have guessed, this will involve a drilling rig, similar to the one that is used for digging for oil. The advantage to drilling a well is that it will run very deep into the Earth, as in hundreds of feet deep. As a result, drilled wells are capable of not only sucking up more water, but more clean water as well.
The disadvantage to drilling a well has to do with price. You can plan on spending literally over five thousand dollars in total if you want to drill a well. You’ll get cleaner water, yes, but it comes at a price. If five thousand is too much to spend, your alternative is the traditional method of physically digging a well.
This is where you dig a hole below water level to allow the water to fill up the hole. People have been digging wells like this for many millennia and still do in certain places in the world. You can either dig a well either with a shovel, or you can use power tools and drilling equipment.
Regardless, dug wells are not going to be as deep as a drilled well and the water will likely not be as clean. But there are techniques that you can use to increase the chances of the water being as pure as possible. By lining the top part of the water well with impermeable substances such as bricks or concrete, you lower the risk of your well being contaminated.
TIPS FOR DIGGING (OR DRILLING) A WELL
One of the most important tips that you can follow when digging your own well is to make sure that it’s legal. There’s no universal advice that we can give you here because the laws in regard to building wells vary significantly by state and also by local cities.
For example, in some areas of the country you don’t need any kind of a permit or a license in order to dig or drill your own well, others areas do you require you to have a permit. Other areas are even more strict and only allow certified contractors to dig wells. Read up on your local and state laws before digging or drilling your well.
Another tip to follow is to dig your distance a minimum of one hundred feet away from any kind of septic tank or sewage pipes. The reason for this is because the groundwater surrounding that tank or pipe pipes can become contaminated and thus contaminate the water in your well. It’s ultimately more dangerous to drink contaminated water than it is to not drink any water at all, so make sure that your well is going to be in a completely safe location before you even think of digging or drilling it.
Finally, the last important tip for you to follow is to keep in mind the different layers of the Earth when you drill. There are many different layers of soil beneath us and each layer consists of a different kind of material, such as rock, dirt, coal, clay, and sand, for example. Of these layers, the one with sand is easily going to yield the purest water. The trick, however, is digging deep enough because sandy soil tends to be several layers deep into the Earth.
As you dig, you should start to find water after fifteen to twenty feet. As you dig deeper and begin hitting more layers, each layer is going to yield a different kind of water because each is made out of a different type of mineral. As we just stated, the best water is found in sandy layers, which are going to be down deeper.
You can stop digging at that fifteen to twenty-foot mark if you want to, but if you want to hit the purest water in the sandy layers, you’re going to have to be prepared to dig a lot deeper (as in one hundred feet or possibly much more).
Remember that there are two main ways to do it: digging and drilling. Is it possible to dig a well a hundred feet deep with nothing more than a shovel? Yes, but it’s going to take a lot of time and exertion on your part. That’s why drilling a well is going to be your best bet for reaching the purest water. Even though it’s infinitely more expensive, drilling a well will not get you just hundreds of feet into the Earth but thousands of feet.
HOW TO DIG A WELL
Now that we have learned about the different methods for constructing a well and some important tips to follow to yield you the best (and safest) results, let’s learn about the steps to follow to actually dig a well.
A majority of wells that are dug for off the grid purposes are at least two hundred feet deep and are constructed using some type of drilling equipment and power tools. A well that is two hundred feet deep will provide you with more than enough water for irrigation purposes and to allow any livestock you have to get enough water as well.
There are certain procedures that you will need to follow when digging your well.
The first procedure is to select your site, as this video shows here:
We already discussed this earlier in this article. Not only does your well need to be dug in a location where you know water can be found, it also needs to be dug in a safe location away from things such as a septic tank, fuel tanks, and a sewage system. If you simply your dig your well in a random location, it can deliver either insufficient amounts of water or water that is unclean to begin with.
Hire an Expert
This is why it’s a good idea to test out locations before you dig your well. Consider hiring an expert who will be able to consult with the state geological survey office to find the best aquifer spots on your property, or who test out the specific areas on your property in person. Even though it costs money to hire an expert to do this for you, it will be an investment well worth the cost to know for a fact you’re digging in an area where there is water. This also saves you a lot of time.
Furthermore, a certified expert will be well aware of any state and/or local laws that need to be explicitly followed when digging a well. Remember that in certain areas of the country, only certified experts are permitted to dig wells in the first place.
Dan’s note: one VERY good reason to hire an expert is that, if you’re not careful, you can destroy the aquifer that feeds the spring. An expert would be able to tell you exactly where to dig your well.
Construct Your Well Screen
The next procedure, once you have selected your location, is to construct your well screen out of a metal pipe, as shown in this video:
This will filter out any debris that gets into the water to keep it clean. To do this, your well screen will need dozens if not hundreds of little slits. Each slit should at least an inch and a half apart from one another. Mark the slits with a marker before cutting them with a hacksaw. Select a PVC cap for your well screen that is tight enough to prevent any leakages. To ensure that the cap stays onto the screen, consider sealing with primer and cement.
Bore or Drill Your Well
The next procedure is to bore, or drill, your water well. The best tool to use for this method is the hand auger, which can be purchased for twenty to thirty dollars. Your auger will need to be extendable in order to dig your well deep enough. The auger will need to be turned in a clockwise direction in order to properly bore the hole. Empty the auger into a pile when it becomes filled with dirt. If the auger can no longer reach the end of the hole, even when fully extended, add a drill rod to it.
An alternative method to boring your water well with a drill auger is to use the well point technique. In this method, dig a two-foot hole with a post hole digger. Next, install a steel well point onto the end of the PVC pipe for driving into the ground. Strike it into the ground with a rubber mallet, but don’t hit too hard or else the PVC can break apart. As you hammer the pipe into the well, continue to screw more lengths of pipe onto the last one.
Remove Dirty Water
Now that your well has been dug and the pipes installed, the next step is to remove the dirty water in the pipe. This step is crucial or else your previous efforts will have been a waste. Simply lower a bailer rod down the length of the pipe and it will fill up with water when it reaches the groundwater. Lift it up, empty it out, and then repeat the process until the water is no longer dirty.
Install a Hand Pump
The next procedure is to install a hand pump that will use pressure to suck the groundwater out of the Earth. Screw your pump all the way into the end of the PVC pipe and make sure that it has a handle.
Pump out some water and have it tested to check for quality. Never check the quality of your water by drinking it. There should be facilities in your city that can test water for contamination and bacteria. For survival purposes, however, you can still filter and purify the water on your own.
Digging a well is one of the best solutions for ensuring that you have a self-sustainable water source in the disaster because the overwhelming majority of fresh water in the world is located beneath the ground. That’s a lot of water that you can’t afford to go untouched.
Remember that you can’t survive for more than three days without water and that you will also feel the negative effects of dehydration, such as dizziness and migraine headaches, in less than one. You need to have all the water you can get in a disaster scenario. While stockpiling as much water is helpful, you should also set up a water well so that you’ll always have water to turn to in the event that your stockpile runs out.