As we often do during the winter months we are seeing some of the problems with artesian wells. An artesian well is simply a free-flowing well that does not require a pump to bring water to the surface. This occurs when the water table in the aquifer is high enough to cause an increase in pressure and this increased pressure forces water to the surface. This usually occurs in our area during the winter months when people are not irrigating heavily and water is entering the aquifer faster than it is being pumped out.
The most common problem we see with artesian wells is water being forced up into a pump’s electrical controls, and as we all know water and electricity do not mix. When this occurs it is necessary to seal the conduit to prevent water from reaching any switches, controls, or wire connections.
Artesian wells can also increase the operating pressure on the irrigation system because pumps operate much more efficiently when they do not have to lift water or pump it very far vertically. This increased pressure can cause pumps to cycle on and off, or may cause pressure relief valves to open and release excessive pressure. In order to protect expensive pumps and their controls, it is important to have well-fed systems checked during periods of the high water table to ensure that everything is working properly. These problems often only last for a few months until people start irrigating more with the arrival of spring’s warmer temperatures.