WellIntel will change everything about what we know about our wells and the groundwater we depend on. This simple device makes it easy and affordable for a homeowner to know how much water they have and how much they are using. The technologies are safe and simple to understand, install and use, and help homeowners stop guessing about well water levels, and to engage experts, when and if it might be necessary.
Why are we doing this?
More than 12 million US families, (42 million people) depend on a private well for their water. Recently, drought conditions have caused ground water levels to drop all over the country. If a homeowner has a well that isn’t deep enough, they may have to dig a deeper one; an expensive proposition. But beyond short term weather patterns, other factors are contributing to groundwater depletion: for example, as more and more homes and buildings are built in places where city water isn’t available, there is more demand for groundwater and, at the same time, there are fewer places where it can naturally replenish.
The Journal Nature recently reported that globally, groundwater sources are stressed at 3.5 times their capacity to produce, and the New York Times reported that wells are running dry around the US midwest.
But apart from pressures out of our control, and except when the family well is constructed, most people with wells have no idea if the water in their wells is dropping, rising, or staying the same. If it drops below the level of the pump in the well, their sinks and showers won’t run, and repair costs could be enormous. But pressure on groundwater doesn’t just affect the homeowner. A lack of information can be risky to the community too. So-called “unsafe yield” – sustained overuse without recharging (refilling the aquifer) – can drag down property values and the tax base. So well water information is vital. But almost nobody has it.
Until now, groundwater information has been expensive and time consuming to get, and often it has been based on estimates, or previous history (not accurate as weather patterns change.) Water level is measured by experts – contractors, inspectors or scientists – using special tools and costly equipment. And since nobody can afford to open a well and test it every day, the information that is collected in these events in obsolete almost as soon as it is gathered.
How does it work?
WellIntel will use a simple sensor and communication module to gather and share information about the level of water in a well with the homeowner via computer or smart phone. The water level, how it changes over time, and the pace of recharge will be tracked. A homeowner can receive alerts and make adjustments or call an expert if they choose.
WellIntel will provide well owners with real-time information about the water level in their well. It will provide peace of mind. It might also start a real conversation about groundwater in US neighborhoods and communities.
Where are we?
We’re finishing up our first field tests which proved that our proprietary sensor technology works, and is highly accurate.
We have assembled a team of engineers and scientists for a large scale pilot test, in conjunction with a local university, on a system of private wells in Wisconsin, and plan to start it this winter. It will be the first time data about groundwater will be captured in real time without the use of expensive scientific instruments, without the risk of contamination by opening the well seal, and without even going outside. It will be a huge step for homeowners with wells, people concerned about water resources, and the first time that groundwater information will be available to the people who need it most.
Once we’ve completed the pilot, we’ll offer the WellIntel system through fine retailers and well drilling experts.
WellIntel sensors won’t touch water, or need electricity. The data they collect will be secure and private. And they’ll last for years — only needing a battery every five years or so. The information you’ll receive from WellIntel will save you money and water, and provide piece of mind.
We’ll update you about our progress here.