WorldWide Drilling Resource

Through the Back Door! by Jim Kuebelbeck Adjacent Well We received an urgent call from a rancher whose well had gradually decreased in vol- ume and was no longer producing enough water for his growing dairy herd. “We are des- perate, and right now we’re having water trucked in every two days,” he said. They had called a well drilling contractor who said to call me to have us locate a drilling site first because of all the problems locat- ing water in their area. He said some of their neighbors had to drill a lot of holes before they found a good water supply and wanted to know how soon we would be able to get out there. In situations such as this, we always try to help as soon as possible, so I told him we would come out later the next afternoon. Until we arrived on the property, we hadn't realized the magni- tude of this particular ranch and dairy operation. In the yard area alone, we counted 12 massive tractors. We never asked about the number of cattle, but it was obvious a good water supply was an absolute necessity. The rancher told us the present well was about 60 feet deep and initially produced about 10 gallons per minute. To supply enough water for the cattle, they had installed a 15,000-gal- lon storage tank, but in the last year or so they noticed a gradual decrease in volume, and had to give the well some time to recharge occasionally, especially during peak water usage. We noticed the well seemed to be fairly close to the barn itself, and with all the regulations regarding required well distances from animal enclosures, we first took a tape measure to get the distance from the barn to the well itself. Confirming the well was within the required guidelines, we decided to begin our water dowsing around the present well to try to determine if any live-water flows existed anywhere near it. If that were to be the case, it would save the landowner a lot of expense by simply tying any new well into the existing water line. Dowsing around the existing well, I knew immediately what had happened. There was a live-water flow about 20 feet away from the existing well, and it had been drilled on the extreme outer edge of the flow. By drilling into the upper edge of the flow, the well had gradually silted up over time and decreased in volume. Had the well been drilled into the main water flow, it would never have silted up. (We've seen this count- less times over the years.) We are always hesitant to select a site anywhere near an existing well, but in this case, I was confident it should be done. I marked the site, which was probably less than 20 feet from the existing well, and Carol said to me, “Jim, I don't think you should be doing this. You're being awful gutsy here. This is scary. Are you sure you want to do this? If you do this, I know you'll be losing a lot of sleep again over this until the well is drilled.” I told her we'd try to locate another site also (which we were able to do), but that I was going to suggest drilling right next to this old well. The well drilling contractor called us three days later. To my great relief, his words were: “Jim, I just drilled for that rancher with all the cattle, where you said to drill right next to his old well. I drilled down to 70 feet and didn't go any deeper. It's pump- ing over 75 gallons a minute, and this guy's water problems are now history!” It's calls like these that drive us to continue doing what we do. My wife Carol often tells me we'll be long gone before peo- ple read our notes and the results of our unexplainable dowsing ability, but I guess I'll just have to accept that. The statements and comments in this article are based on information and references believed to be true and factual. If you have any questions or comments, please forward them to me in care of WWDR . Jim Jim Kuebelbeck may be contacted via e-mail to EXB 25 WorldWide Drilling Resource ® JANUARY 2021 Pulling the rods refers to the act of removing drill rods from the borehole because the bit needs to be changed, the hole is complete, or other in-hole issues. In the drilling world, the phrase, “I’m tripping out” means drill rods are coming out of the borehole. “I’m tripping in” means the rods are going back down the hole. Drilling Terms of Interest