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Water Drilling & Where Water is located in North Idaho


I have a lot of folks ask me how deep wells are in the area where a house is at that they’re looking at, and I want to tell you how water works here, because it is really a lot different than a lot of other places in America.

I moved here from Michigan, where you have what are called “water tables”, meaning that if the neighbor has a well that’s 80 feet deep, you’ll probably get water at that depth, too. I think that’s the primary reason folks ask me (all the time) “how deep are the wells in the areas”?

Here, there are no tables, at all. There is either “in the aquifer” or “not in the aquifer”, meaning that the property is elevated, on the side or flanks of a mountain.


Valley Water –

There is a gigantic aquifer here called the Spokane Valley-Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer, and it starts slightly north of Spirit Lake, runs in a line to the east just north of Bayview. This aquifer has tremendous water, and for here, it’s pretty shallow, typically drilling 75 feet to 250 feet before you’re in water. The majority of the valley floors here will be like that, for the most part, you won’t have to go down a long ways to get water, if you’re in the valley floor.


Mountain Water –

Now, if you’re not in the aquifer, and you’re on the side of a mountain, even if you’re only up a little bit, 20 feet or 50 feet, the water in the mountains all flow in fissures, or cracks in the rocks. This water flowing in the cracks can be very substantial water, my own well produces 28 gallons per minute, and I’m at least a thousand feet above the valley floor.

But this water isn’t throughout the side of the mountain, again, it’s flowing in underground rivers and creeks and springs, basically.

So; you buy a parcel of land; how do you find the water?

With a Well Witcher. That’s someone (a person) who is GOOD at pointing out water using a stick of wood, or a piece of metal. People have been doing this forever, dates back to the Pyramids, and it does work. I have a guy that I would call a Professional Witcher, older Fella, moved here from Oklahoma, he’s excellent at finding water, is inexpensive, and most importantly, it works.

Sometimes here, you’ll find a house that has a well that produces a lower amount, maybe 1 or 3 GPM, and right next to it (300 feet away) is a house that has a well that produces 40 GPM. The difference is that the one with the bigger well production either got lucky (by hitting a fissure) or more probably used a witcher when they drilled the well.

The worst thing you can do here is to build the house, and then drill the well. If you buy land & you need water from a well, drill the well FIRST, not because you won’t get water (every drilled hole here gets water, just depends how deep & how much), but if you drill the well first, you’re guaranteed, pretty much, large amounts of clear, clean delicious water, and you build your home around that. Water is your most precious resource.

A deep well here is anything over 500 feet, a shallow well is anything under 250 feet, wells probably average between 300 & 400 feet deep, and will cost $18-20 a foot to drill, plus the pipe, cable, pump, and installation of pressure tank to make it work. By the time you’re done, plan on a low of $5-7,000 & an upper end of approximately $10-15,000, unless you get really unlucky & have a really deep well, I have seen people pay upwards of $25,000 for a really deep well.

When we’re in the field, looking at homes, land etc, for the most part, I’ll be able to tell you if there’s a lot of water in the area or not, lucky that I’m able to fairly well sense it, and see/notice the fauna that tells us water is nearby that points us to it.

 

Hope it helps-

Chris


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