Water Resources

Managing Your Private Drinking Water Well During Drought
By Sharon Skipton, UNL Extension Water Quality Educator

Image of wellheadWhat can you do if your private drinking water well fails to provide an adequate water supply due to drought conditions? Private wells tend to be rather shallow in depth below ground, and shallow wells are more susceptible to adverse impacts due to drought. Most community wells are generally deeper, so a private well may have problems when a neighboring community supply, not far away, may be fine 

Groundwater levels in Nebraska can vary over time. Lower levels can occur during periods of little rainfall and warm temperatures. Periods of little rainfall reduce recharge to the aquifer. Warmer temperatures can cause an increase in vegetative evaporation and transpiration resulting in an increase in outdoor water use. This puts additional stress on the water system.


Protect Your Private Well From Stormwater Runoff
By Sharon Skipton, UNL Extension Water Quality Educator

Image of Lightening

Do NOT stand out to observe runoff during lightening or severe weather.

Next time it rains, go outside and notice how the rainwater moves from roof areas, driveways, and other paved surfaces. Make sure this water is not flowing toward your private drinking water well.

As stormwater flows over the land, it can pick up debris, bacteria, chemicals, soil, and other pollutants and carry those toward your well. Sources of contaminants on an acreage might include paint, wood-sealants, solvents, used motor oil, and other products leaked or poured onto the ground.

Fertilizers and pesticides applied to lawns and gardens can wash off with stormwater. Pet and animal waste are additional sources of contamination. Research shows that drinking water wells that have been inundated with stormwater runoff are likely to be contaminated with bacteria. Other pollutants also may have entered the well.