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How Much Does It Cost To Drill A Water Well?

Drilling a Water Well

Drilling a Water Well

There are numerous reasons why someone may want to drill water wells on their property. The person may want a well to supplement or replace the supply of municipal water. Or perhaps drilling a well is the only way to obtain water on the property. No matter what the reasons are, the person will certainly need to know how much it costs to drill water wells prior to beginning the project.

Cost factors

There are several cost factors to take into consideration. For instance, licenses and special permits may have to be obtained. Equipment or tools may have to be purchased or rented. Most likely, it will be necessary to either hire professional well drillers or at least hire some general laborers to help with the drilling. Then there is the cost of the materials and water tests to consider. Prices for permits, licenses, labor, water testing, and materials differ from one location to the next. The quality of the material and water may also affect the total cost. And the size and type of water system added to the water well will definitely affect the total cost.

Sample Prices

Most licensed drillers charge per depth/diameter foot and include the permits and basic materials, such as the well casing, in the estimated cost. The average residential water well ranges between 30-200 feet deep. For residential water wells in the United States, the price ranges from $15-$100 per foot, with a total price range from $3,000-to over $50,000. However, the rest of the water system, such as the electric connections, pump, pipes leading to the home, and storage system are typically not included in the estimate. So it may be necessary to add an additional $800-$2,000 to the amount to the contractor’s quotes or ask that the cost of the complete water system be included. Even the drilling company cannot give an exact price until after the well has been drilled and the water has been tested.

Estimating Total Price

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Although the total cost will vary from project to project, there are ways to get an estimated total price. The easiest and best way is to get a few licensed well drillers to provide you with an estimated cost for your specific location and choice of water system. Since they drill wells as a profession, they are also the most qualified people to obtain advice from if you are planning on drilling your own water well.

Most professionals do not mind answering a few questions as to what type of material is suitable to your terrain and environment, as well as what the most recent prices are for labor and materials. They would also most likely have up-to-date information regarding what permits or licenses are required for the location, and the costs of those permits/licenses. Usually, there is no legal obligation to hire a company once you have obtained a consultation, and most companies will provide free estimates. However, some states legally require that a licensed driller be utilized. This is due to the major impact an improperly constructed well can have on the environment. So having several professional contractors give you a quote may save you time in the long run.

The hardest way is to figure out the total cost on your own. This is because you have to have a good idea of how many feet into the ground the well will reach. You will also need to know which permits or licenses are required. And you will have to research which types of materials and drilling is most suitable for the location of the well. You will also need to know the quality of the water in order to properly plan which additional water system to utilize.

Contracts

It is highly suggested that you read the contract over carefully when hiring a professional drilling company. They are not legally bound to hit water when drilling a well, since no one can guarantee there is an accessible supply of water under your property. You may want to ensure there is a clause for possibly drilling a second well if the first one does not work out. You may also want to ensure it is clear who will obtain and pay for any required permits. Additionally, it is a good idea to clarify who will purchase and install the remainder of the water system. And you should also make sure it is clear who will clean up the mess on the property after the well is finished. Moreover, it is best to ensure the contractor has proper liability insurance to cover any injuries and property damage that may occur during the project.

Penny Vincent

Penny Vincent has been a professional writer for 3 years. She joined TheHousingForum Team in January, 2009. Penny enjoys spending time with family and friends, managing two small, home-based businesses, and sharing her vast knowledge with others.



  • Texago67

    My well man says the well I’m drilling will cost $32.00 per ft. This includes 4.5 ” casing and 5hp, 8′ tall pump/filter set-up. Here’s the questions I have. The Paluxy aquifer we’re drilling into is 850′ deep, and the driller tells me that we will be drawing water,not from an underground lake, but from “wet sand”! This sounds crazy to me. This whole package is costing me $30,000 and the thought of sucking water out of sand scares me! Are these facts correct?
    Thanks Ron Richards texago67@yahoo.com

  • PennyV

     Nice article, Neil!  Only as a well owner, I have to disagree with you on some points.  For instance, because we are using a well, we have to use strict water conservation techniques all the time, but especially during the summer months when there is little rainfall to help replenish the water level in the underground spring that feeds our well.  We have been lucky to have one of the best wells in our area, simply because my husband insisted that the well be dug down to 80 feet instead of the usual 20-40 feet.  During droughts, most of the wells in this area tend to dry up and even in normal conditions several of the nearby creeks and rivers dry up too..  And though having a well does save on the water bills, having an electric pump does slightly run up the electric bill.  Another disadvantage of having an electric pump for the well is that whenever the electricity goes off, there is no way of pumping the water up through the well, unless you have a generator for backup.  You also frequently have to wait for the well to re-fill itself if you use any large amounts of water, which can take quite a long time whenever the water source’s water level is low.  Being on well water does affect your daily lifestyle.  You can’t do a load of laundry while running the dishwasher or bath water.  Nor can you use the well water for several different applications all on the same day if any of the applications require a large amount of water without having to worry about drying up the well or overworking the pump.

    Ron, I found this study about Texas wells that might help you out:  I’m not sure exactly when the study was completed, but it seems like the report may still give you some basic information that might help you with your decisions.   You can find the report, which was made by the Texas Water Development Board, at http://www.ruralurbanresources.org/northeast_texas_underground_wate.htm.  You could also try contacting the Texas Water Development Board and see if they have any updated studies regarding extracting well water from wet sand.

  • nick

    wet sand thats new

  • PennyV

    Nick, I thought it was kind of interesting that they were using wet sand for wells too.  Makes you wonder what they will come up with next!

  • TX well

    In many parts of the country (including parts of Texas) some wells can be regulated. There is no such thing as blanket immunity for water withdrawals in drought conditions in many areas (via groundwater conservation districts, subsidence districts, etc).

  • PennyV

    TX well, this is so true! In most areas of the world, you have to have special permission to be withdrawing water from any public/government owned water source, whether it be surface or groundwater. You especially need special permission during times of drought. If your well is tapping into a public aquifer, your permission may be suspended during drought conditions so that other entities with a higher priority can use the water. Usually domestic household use isn’t restricted, but use for irrigating crops or watering animals may be restricted. Certainly use for washing cars and watering lawns would be restricted under those conditions. So it would certainly be vital to know exactly where the water for your well is coming from, and what your rights to it are under the various conditions, laws and regulations.

  • Gabriel

    What good is a water well if you don’t have electricity for a long time, there is no gas to use a generator as could very easily happen after a disaster like hurricane Sandy? what can you do to use the water well if the pump can’t be use to bring the water to the faucets?

  • PennyV

    Gabriel, people used to pump water out of wells all the time without the aid of electricity and gas in olden times. Perhaps if you have a well, it’s best to make sure it can be pumped manually as well as electrically. Or find a way of harnessing solar and wind power as an alternative source of power for the well.

  • Al

    Hi Neil,

    Nice article, and I have some questions. I need to have a well drilled in CA, and the company I called tell me that it will cost me $35,000 which seems a lot of money. I am thinking for that kind of money, I can buy a hydraulic for say $15,000 or $20,000, drill my well, then sell it or rent it. what are your thoughts on that ? Thanks

  • PennyV

    Al, I’ve done a bit of research for you, and I highly recommend that you do some more research on your own regarding drilling a water well in CA. You didn’t mention what specific area in CA you were planning on drilling in. Each county has some of its own regulations, as well as the state and federal regulations that have to be considered. From what I was reading, the average cost for drilling a well within 50 miles of the coast line is about $100.00 per foot, and that doesn’t include the cost of the materials or the required permits. Here is a link to a site that can give you more information, and guide you to the state agencies you will need to contact if you choose to drill a water well in CA: http://info.ngwa.org/servicecenter/states/State_map.cfm?uid=Ca

  • wordwar

    Don’t forget that in a serious emergency when power is out over a large area and there is damage from a storm or earthquake, public water pipes might not flow. The cities also need electricity to pump municipal water. With your own well there is at least some potential to use a hand pump. Cisterns, ponds, pools, and rainwater catchments, as well as filtering and purifying equipment should also be part of your plan.

  • PennyV

    Hi, Wordwar! That’s a good point about making sure filters and purifying equipment are part of the emergency plan. It’s important to remember that rain, snow and other natural sources of water can easily be polluted and should be filtered/purified before drinking or bathing.

  • Tania and Carl

    My fiancee and I are looking to buy land in converse county Wyoming. We found an area that we like but aren’t sure how to go about drilling a well. He’s busy researching housing materials, equipment and all that, while I’m researching insurance and Wells, stuff like that. Any body have info

  • PennyV

    Here’s a link to some of the licensed water well drillers in the Converse County, WY area that might be able to provide you with the information you need: http://www.b2byellowpages.com/co/750995999/water-well-drilling-service-in-converse-wy.html

  • Nando

    My parents are looking into buying a home I found 2 really nice ones but they both have septic and private water well. I am pretty well informed on septics but privat well is really hard to find accurate answers to my questions. For private well they are terrified about what would happen should the well dry up?, is there a specific timeline they should expect any problems? (the home was bult in 1969), what would need to be done and most important the cost?. To them owning a private well is going to be a headache on top of worrying about water. I also want to know if it really isn’t anything we should worry about with owning a private well then I would like to try to have them reconsider those houses.

  • p

    I’m not sure where you are but I’ve had wells for all my life and my only problem was when a pump went out. Now I keep a spare just in case.

  • Alma

    Hi we live in Tolleson, Arizona and my husband and I are looking into getting a well. We live on a acre property with live stock. Where and what do you suggest we do first? Thank you for your assistance.

  • BobTheJanitor2

    That is totally normal, most people are sucking water out of sand or gravel, (something has to hold up the ground above it when you remove the water.) In some places there are underground lakes or rivers in caves, but they are very hard to hit with a drill and the ground in those areas tends to be unstable.