Households that rely on well water can face problems during a drought. Being prepared can reduce the chance of well problems and shorten the time it takes to restore water. As a rule, you should be mindful of your well's health and functionality on an ongoing basis, but most especially during a drought period. Wellowner.org has an abundance of basic information on wells and regular maintenance.
Q. My well has 'gone dry', what do I do?
A. This occurs when the groundwater level falls below the depth of the pump or the bottom of the well. You will need to contact a licensed contractor who can assess your situation and give you options. Wellowner.org has a Contractor Lookup tool. If you have the ability to store water or purchase a storage tank, be sure to use only licensed water haulers for delivery of potable water. There are currently five licensed water haulers in Butte County. Call us with questions or for the list, 530.538.4343.
Q. Who do I report my dry well or other well problems to?
A. Problems could include the well no longer producing water, producing water sporadically, increased sand or sediment, or decreased pressure. Help us document these impacts of the drought. Although we cannot solve individual well problems, information we gather will assist in our drought assessment efforts and understanding groundwater basin conditions. Information on well problems can be voluntarily by filling out and submitting the Well Reporting Form. You can also print the Well Reporting Form, fill it out manually and mail it to us at 308 Nelson Avenue Oroville, CA 95965 or by email to email@example.com.
Q. I haven’t had problems but how can I be proactive?
Knowing the total depth and general construction of your well can help you anticipate how your well may respond in drought conditions. This information can be found on a ‘Well Log’ that was filled out at the time your well was drilled. Having your well log on hand is a must, especially during dry times.
Copies of Well Logs, also known as Well Completion Reports or Well Driller Reports, are available from the Butte County Department of Environmental Health. Fill out and return the Well Log Release Request to the Environmental Health Division. Call 530.538.7281 with any questions.
Alternatively, you can request your well depth information and well log by contacting the Department of Water Resources Northern Region Office in Red Bluff using the Well Log Request Form or by calling 530.529.7300.
Annual well maintenance is also recommended. Have your well serviced to check pump performance, depth to water, and the depth of your pump. Information regarding the depth of the pump in your well may be recorded on installation receipts, or may be available from the pump company which performed the installation.
Q. How can I find out where the groundwater level is in my area?
Depth to groundwater for monitoring wells in your area can be viewed at the Water Data Library. Use the map to find a monitoring well near you. If you know the total depth of your well, where it is screened, and how deep your pump sits in the borehole then you can compare that information to local groundwater conditions to gauge your risk for running into well troubles.
Monthly groundwater level monitoring is occurring because of the dry conditions. Results and summaries are posted on the Department’s Groundwater Levels page. Call our Department if you have questions about groundwater conditions, 530.538.4343.
Q. What information is available for agricultural users?
The UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources is working to help farmers cope with the unwelcome outcome of historically low rainfall this season and the last three years. The UC Drought Resources website has a number of links including a calendar of drought events, agricultural and natural resource experts, and information and resources for agriculture, rangeland, and urban landscapes. A recent addition includes recorded video presentations on high-priority drought topics. These are available for viewing on the UC California Institute of Water Resources page.
Related Agricultural Resources
UC Drought Management
US Department of Agriculture Drought Help
California Department of Food and Agriculture- Drought Resources
Well Reporting Form (online)
Well Reporting Form (print)
Well Log Release Request Form (Butte County Environmental Health Division)
Well Completion Report Request Form (DWR)