In Texas, 99 per cent of the drinking water for rural populations is supplied by groundwater. So what is groundwater and how does it relate to us? Groundwater is any water that is located under the surface of the earth. Geological formations underground called are called aquifers. Groundwater wells are wells that are drilled into the ground with pumps to extract the water from aquifers. This pumped water is then diverted (and sometimes filtered) to sources for its intended use.
The state of Texas has approximately 6,700 dams and reservoirs to supply water for its population of over 27 million people. This water supply not only keeps the state functioning, it also produces some pretty amazing facts.
- Did you know that only 40 per cent of the water in Texas is surface water? These are lakes, streams and other above ground bodies of water. The other 60 per cent of the water in this State is groundwater. It has to be pumped to the surface to be used.
- This groundwater is supplied by approximately 32 aquifers in Texas, however nine major aquifers supply approximately 97 per cent of the groundwater that is used. These nine aquifers are named Ogallala, Gulf Coast Aquifer, Edwards (Balcones Fault Zone), Carrizo-Wilcox, Trinity, Edwards-Trinity Plateau, Seymour, Hueco-Mesilla Bolson and Pecos Valley.
- The largest use for groundwater in Texas is agriculture. Approximately 80 per cent of the groundwater is used for irrigating crops. Over 6 million acres of land in Texas is irrigated. Texas is the state with the highest amount of irrigation wells. The rest of the water is used for industrial use, livestock and, of course, public supply.
- In 2005 Texas was only second to California in percentage of groundwater use, withdrawing over 10 million gallons of groundwater per day. While this seems like a high number, consider the fact that each American household uses approximately 100 gallons of water each day at home. A dishwasher alone requires about 12 gallons of water per use while handwashing dishes can use as much as 20 gallons.
Some private wells in Texas are regulated by their local groundwater conservation district. Abandoned wells are an environmental concern as well as a safety hazard. These wells give direct access to aquifers, greatly increasing the chance of water contamination. Abandoned wells are the responsibility of the landowner and they should be taken care off as soon as they are discovered.
Jessica McClure, was one of these cases. Her much-publicized rescue in 1987 resulted in a movie and a song being written about her. At 18 months old she fell 22 feet down a well in her aunt’s back yard. Rescuers worked nonstop for 58 hours to rescue her. Thankfully, she survived this traumatic ordeal.
Water wells in Texas are interesting, but when it comes to drilling a well, things get expensive. Well drillers get paid for every foot they drill– regardless of if they find water or not. Save yourself time, money and dry holes on your property by knowing where the water is before the well driller shows up. American Water Surveyors is the cost-effective and efficient solution to finding the location, depth and yield of groundwater on your property so when it’s time to drill a well, you don’t waste time or money. Contact us today to learn more.