In the U.S. alone, 44 million people depend on groundwater as their source of water. And groundwater is used for many things: drinking, heating and cooling, and the irrigation of crops and gardens.
Millions of wells supply this water. Some are very large and run all the time delivering many hundreds of thousands of gallons of water to a community each day. Some run intermittently, like wells for irrigation or farming, and some run only when someone in a household needs water.
Wellintel is a technology that might be used on any of these wells, but we’re starting with the residential ones. Why?
To start, states generally have well-worn rules that dictate the location and withdrawal rates for high capacity wells, and they’re starting to focus on the large wells used by large farming operations too. To meet these rules and since the amount of water pumped is so large, water managers (and sometimes farmers) must monitor and report flow, drawdown, productivity and efficiency.
Wells owned by families, on the other hand, are almost never inspected or monitored for anything. In a recent survey, we found that 92% of homeowners have not measured either water quality or water quantity, ever. However, those same well owners face greater relative financial or personal risk when something goes wrong. For example, if the water table declines due to drought, development, or someone else’s over-consumption, the bill to adapt or replace the well will quickly run into many thousands of dollars. Some estimates have consumers on the hook for a whopping $500 million a year in unanticipated fees, just to keep water running to their homes from a private well.
So Wellintel is designed to allow the owners of these small, at-risk wells to see how their property is affected, and, if necessary, to take proactive steps to protect themselves against future trouble, and to be able to represent, with facts, their investments and rights. We understand that sometimes the conversation created because of Wellintel technology will be awkward. But it’s a conversation we all need to have, if we want to avoid surprises and protect our groundwater and the places we live.