And the well does not play well with others today


With a day to myself and nothing happening on site but the delivery of fill dirt every two hours or so I figured that it would be a good day to have the well water tested for bacteria and mineral composition. So I dropped by the water authority and picked up sample bottles and the necessary paperwork. And since the samples had to be transported on ice back to the lab I stopped by for ten pounds of the cold stuff and a few beers to keep it company in the meantime.

At the property I opened the well to about a one to two gallon per minute flow, much to the delight of the nearby live oak. I’ve been letting it run like this for an hour or more each time I am there per the instructions of the water authority folks. Seems that new wells need to be thoroughly flushed before an accurate reading can be made. As today was going to be the day for test samples I figured that if one hour of flow before drawing the sample was adequate, then two or more would be better. I open the valve and go about my business counting emerging cedars, occasionally wandering over to check the flow.

About two and a quarter hours later I see that the usually crystal clear water is now a bit cloudy. Uh-oh. That cannot be a good sign. I stand there watching water come out of a hose for several minutes and lo and behold, it becomes clear again. Then suddenly, nothing. No water at all. The well head had dropped below the down hole pump and everything shut down until it builds back up, hopefully overnight.

Needless to say, no testing was done today and I learned the limitations of my dear little Edwards aquifer well. Three takeaways for the day. First, it will be necessary to have at least 1000 gallons of storage capacity for this well, which will be filled very slowly. Second, I’m glad I selected the 30,000 gallon rainwater harvesting cistern instead of the smaller one. And finally, always remember to purchase beer when buying ice for any reason. If the main reason goes south, you can always console yourself with a cold one later.

UPDATE: The next morning I sheepishly threw the breaker to the well and made the long slow march back from the power pole. Eureka! A green light on the panel! And the wonderful low hum of the down hole pump bringing up that cool, clear Edwards aquifer water. Boundaries are now established and they must be respected.