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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Well Well Well

My friends recently had a well dug. I picked the spot using the age old technique of dowsing. Years ago I used to do a lot more "water witching," but backed off during the construction boom. Frankly, I thought there were too many houses going into places where they shouldn't be. Didn't want to be part of that overbuilding craze. Rather give up a few bucks than do something I didn't belive in. There wasn't big money in it, but I always made enough money to attend the dowsing convention in Vermont.

In those days I'd seek out dowsing business -advertisement, business cards, tax forms, the whole nine yards. Glad those days are behind me. Now if someone seeks me out, I figure I should at least look into their problem. Haven't charged for my talent in years, but happily take donations. Barter works fine too.

Even though I've done it for years, every well makes me a bit nervous. There's so much that's out of my control. This last job is a case in point. Last fall I found what I believed to be an adequate spot. Marked the location. Other problems with the house construction took priority and the well wasn't dug then. At some point in time, a load of construction lumber got dumped on my marker. When the lumber was moved, so was the marker.

By spring time, the property owners had moved into a partially completed house. It had no water. They were using a surplus 50 gallon military field kitchen water tank, filled up from a distant neighbor's house. For one reason or another, the well project kept getting pushed off.

Eventually, I went back and redowsed the area to find the well location once more. I'd said they should go down 18 feet to get the water they'd need. I'd expected them to hit a little water before that depth, but they'd have go the full 18 feet to get everything.

The digger showed up with a huge excavator. That's good as the machine was fully capable of reaching deep enough. The downside is all that heavy equipment can squash shallow water veins.

So I get a phone call when they are down around 17 feet -no water yet. They had removed a rock the size of a compact car. After repositioning the excavator, they went down the last foot and hit ledge, and a thin trickle of water. Once the water started flowing, it became stronger. They went ahead and finished off the well. 15 yards of crushed stone went in the bottom. Well tiles were piled on top of each other until they rose a couple feet out of the ground, where it was capped.

The owner pumped the well out repeatedly until the stone dust and cement taste cleared. Pumping the well opens up the water veins and increases the flow. Early on, there was only two feet of water in the well. However, after pumping for 4 hours steady, the water level had only dropped a foot. Since then, the water level in the well keeps rising. In short, there's plenty of water for their household needs.

Now I don't care if you think dowsing is fake, the devil's work, self-delusion, or a gift from god. It works. Might as well get everything on your side that you can. The digger or driller gets paid for making a hole. If there's no water in it, he still gets paid. That can get expensive very quickly.

There's truth to the old saying: you don't know the value of water until the well runs dry.



  1. There's a guy at work who dowses. Everyone makes fun of him, but he finds what he's looking for!