HEMPHILL COUNTY, Texas (KVII) — The Hemphill County Underground Water Conservation District teamed up with Texas Well Owner Network (TWON) to host a conference on Wednesday for landowners seeking best practices for maintaining wells on their property.
In this week’s Panhandle Runs on Water, ABC 7 News looks at why private and domestic wells are the sole responsibility of the landowner to ensure the water’s quality and during a drought why testing is important.
“The drought has really put us back since 2009,” said Rick Hodges, landowner/rancher.
Hodges on the challenges a drought can have on folks who depend on wells for their daily livelihood. If the water level drops below the point of your pump intake, the pump can be damaged.
“This water quality has to be checked all the time to keep us in approved level if we don’t were losing out,” said Hodges.
Landowners are informed if you have a low-wielding well adding a pumped-water storage tank will help meet peak demand when your water needs exceed the pump’s capacity – if the water level drops you’re well may begin to produce sand and air bubbles.
“You get contaminants in your cattle they’re not going to do good and if you get in yourself you’re going to be sick or not have good water flow,” said Hodges.
“It can be influenced with things like nitrates and chloroform and those type of things can complicate health issues and can make you sick if you drink it and it’s not properly maintained,” said Janet Guthrie, general manager of Underground Water Conservation District.
When it comes to groundwater in the Lone Star State despite having nine major aquifers and 21 minor aquifers we have about 250 times as much groundwater as we do surface water.
“You want the quality of water on your land to be good especially if you’re going to pass your land on to your children,” said Barbara Hodges, landowner/rancher. “It’s very important that it’s all safe to drink and safe to use for anything you need to do with it.”
To help prevent groundwater from becoming contaminated protect the wellhead of a capped well just as you would a functioning well and do not apply fertilizer or pesticides within 100 feet of the wellhead.
“If you notice any change in the color or taste and odor then that is an indication that you would need to follow up and get that well tested,” said Guthrie.
There are three people who can legally plug an abandoned water well, the landowner, a pump installer or a licensed water well driller.