Dougherty County -- A lack of rainfall has left some south Georgia wells high and dry. Dry conditions have caused water levels in south Georgia's aquifers to drop dramatically over the last several months. Many have had to dig deeper wells.
Between homeowners, industry, and farming we use a lot of water. Water is a valuable commodity, some consider it more valuable than oil. Some south Georgians are learning just how valuable, as they're sent digging for water.
For 42 years the Tuckers have relied on their well to keep their family supplied with water, but recently noticed trouble. "A reddish color in my filters, the water looked clear, but I guess it's after it's gone through the filters," says Calvin Tucker.
Like many others, the Tuckers well was drying up putting more minerals in their water. They've had to dig a new well and they're not the only ones. "It's been very heavy, very heavy, over the weekend we had somewhere around 30 plus calls," says Ryan Thompson of Harvey's Drilling Company.
Dry conditions have dropped water levels in the Floridan aquifer. It's sent heavy machinery into a lot of backyards. "It's dramatically dropped," says Thompson. "We've had hardly any rain since early March, without rain the aquifer doesn't replenish."
Many have been forced to lower their pumps, dig deeper, or like the Tuckers, put in a new well. "We've seen it drop in areas anywhere from 40 feet to as much as 120 feet. We went to one of Friday, the water table had dropped. In areas where the water table is usually around 40 feet, was at 107 feet," says Thompson.
The rain fall we got this weekend does little to replace what's being taken out. This weekend's rain will likely be soaked up by the soil and never make it to aquifer. "It takes rainfall to bring it back, we take it away, the good Lord has to give it so we need some rain pretty bad," says Ryan Thompson.
The Tuckers however will rest a little easier, knowing they've got a better supply of water and a deeper well. "My wife will shout, I will too, I will," Tucker said.
Unlike the droughts of 1999 and 2000 when well problems seemed to be isolated to just a few areas, the problem this year is widespread. Harvey Drilling has had calls from Blakley, Arlington, Newton, and east of Tifton.
Unfortunately a lot of people don't realize they've got a problem until it's too late. If you experience, discolored water, low pressure, or air in your water lines chances are your pump may need to be lowered.
If you've got to dig deeper or put in a new well it will cost you more than ever before. The trucks used to drill the well are costing more to run. The trucks run on diesel which is currently about $2.90 a gallon.
The truck must run the entire time they're drilling which can take several hours. The cost of the PVC pipe has also risen because it's a petroleum based product.