Drought Watch: Will dry weather threaten wells?

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

POWHATAN, VA (WWBT) - Virginia's dry weather is turning a lot of green grass into brown straw. Crops are struggling, too, and burn bans are in effect. But what about a much deeper risk...the people who depend on well water?

Corey Slayton poured himself a glass of water, and for as long as he can remember that's never been a problem.

"We've had the house for 12 years, and none whatsoever, honestly," Slayton said.

Like many homes and businesses in Powhatan, the house depends on a deep, artesian well. Those in the well drilling business say the supply -even in shallow wells- is looking fine, for now.

"There is concern if the drought continues, but right now we're not seeing any negative effects on the water table at this point," said Robert Royall, of Royall Pump and Well Co.

Royall has 31 years in the business. He gets calls from customers who say it "looks" like the ground is dry, but 300 feet below the surface, he says, it's not.

"The deep aquifers are made up of so much storage, and such a vast confined aquifer, that they don't have to have replenishment in a short period of time.

Still, it's no time to be wasteful. Governments have issued a drought watch and public water restrictions. They're precautionary moves heading into what are, historically, the driest months of the year.

"Use your water wisely, no need to limit your household needs, but don't waste water," Royall said.

That means Corey, and others, may continue to use their well water, "almost" worry-free.

"I mean, it might tint your laundry a little bit, but that's it for the most part," Slayton said.

Bottom line, Royall says, is that it would take years, especially for those with deep wells, to have any chance of running out of water.

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