Photograph of a drilled well casing Life Expectancy of Drinking Water Wells

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Life expectancy of a water well: how long can a water well of different types (dug, driven, drilled) be expected to deliver a usable quantity of water?

This article describes factors affecting the Life Expectancy of Drinking Water Wells & Water Tanks.

When will the well run out of water? Can we increase the well yield or water quantity without having to drill a new well? How long should a well last?What factors affect the life expectancy and continuous water yield of different types of wells?

What are the different life expectancies and water yields of different types of wells: driven point, hand dug, drilled, artesian walls, etc.? What is the expected life of well parts: well casing, foot valve, different types of water piping materials?

We also provide a MASTER INDEX to this topic, or you can try the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX as a quick way to find information you need.

What is the Typical Life Expectancy of Water Wells

Schematic of a bored water well (C) Carson Dunlop AssociatesWatch out: Before assuming that a water problem is due to the water pump or the water well itself, see WATER PUMP REPAIR GUIDE a specific case which offers an example of diagnosis of loss of water pressure, loss of water, and analyzes the actual repair cost.

If you know that your well is performing poorly with a poor flow rate or poor well recovery rate, see WELL YIELD IMPROVEMENT, and

to protect the well pump from damage due to low well water or other hazards see WATER PUMP PROTECTION SWITCH


[Click to enlarge any image]

How Long Should a Water Well Last?

The life expectancy of drinking water or irrigation wells is quite variable and depends on a number of factors which we describe here. We welcome suggestions or reports of personal experience with the life of wells, pumps, and water tanks.

Sketch courtesy of Carson Dunlop Associates.

Here are some factors that affect the life of a well - by which we mean the continued ability of a well to yield water to its users.

First let's make clear that we're talking about the well itself, the hole in the ground and its ability to give an adequate quantity and flow rate of drinking water, not the equipment used to get water out of the ground, such as the water piping, water pump, pump controls, water tank or valves.

The issue of water potability - can it be used for drinking - is separate from the ability of the well to deliver water at all, but beware: a well with a good flow rate and good potability can change in both of those factors.

See WATER TESTING for a discussion of contaminants that occur in drinking water, how to test for them and how to remove them.

In sum, there is no simple short reliable answer to how long a water well will continue to give good quality and acceptable quantity of water, but our experience is that driven point wells have minimum flow and shortest life in many areas as the well point clogs, and driven point or drilled wells into bedrock in areas of very high mineral content water may begin to show clogging and reduced water flow in as little as a decade.

Ask about local water conditions: Ask your neighbors, local water testing laboratories, local well drillers, and plumbers what they've experienced with well drilling success in your immediate neighborhood.

At what depths is an adequate water flow rate usually found? What contaminants have been found in wells in the area for which you should be particularly alert?

How are local wells affected by seasonal or longer term changes in the water table?

Other well piping components that are not part of the well pump itself, but that affect pump life, such as

Life expectancy of Well Casings, Well Piping, Foot Valves, Water Pump Wiring, Well Plumbing Connections


Continue reading at WELL YIELD IMPROVEMENT or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see WATER WELL LIFE FAQs - questions and answers about the life of a water well or its components


Or see WELL PUMP TYPES & LIFE EXPECTANCY for a related discussion of how long well pumps, well controls, and related water supply system components can be expected to last.

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WELL LIFE EXPECTANCY at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.


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Publisher - Daniel Friedman