James C. Gossweiler, P.G.
James C.’s Answer
Historically, people obtained their drinking waters from surface water bodies such as lakes, ponds, streams, and the like. Over time, people learned that in seemingly dry areas where no water bodies were present they could hand dig wells to relatively shallow ground water beneath the surface. Hydrogeologists call this shallow groundwater "first ground water" or "unconfined groundwater." Hand dug well are what we see in old western movies in the center of town lined with rock or brick with an open roof and a bucket with a rope. These constructs were commonly used worldwide and in many areas still are used. However, there are problems associated with these kinds of wells...they easily become contaminated with human, animal, chemical, and biological waste. Cholera, a disease that killed millions of people historically, came about from shallow water contaminated with bacteria.
Deeper wells were found to contain fewer contaminants and in the vast majority of cases no chemical or biological contamination at all. The reason for this is that the "bore water" is contained within rock fractures deep underground where it cannot be contaminated in any way. Most of the deep "bore hole" water that we drink has not seem the light of day in hundreds of thousands to millions of years. Hydrogeologists call this water "confined groundwater" because it is not directly fed from the surface. Which would you prefer to drink, water from a wide, open hole twenty to thirty feet deep or from a small diameter borehole hundreds of feet below the surface?
John Medeiros MS EHS
It is not just single family homes but whole communities survive on well water. Many have the understanding that a lot often time’s well water is clean and doesn’t need to be treated. However, this attitude may be somewhat naïve. Well water should be tested because contaminants can travel underground undetected until they enter a well. Sometimes the contamination could be traveling for years, even decades. Long after the source of the contamination has closed its doors and no one can be found to blame for the contamination.
An example of this can be found from Joint Base Cape Cod, (formerly Otis Air Force Base / Camp Edwards) where nearly 80 years of operation prior to any national environmental regulation manifested itself in the determination of nearly a dozen plumes of different contaminants flowing from the base. It was found that wells on Cape Cod down flow from the base were holding the same contaminates. Wells were closed, bottle water was delivered to homes and local communities and public outcry demanded action.
Fast forward nearly 3 decades and 2.4 billion dollars in cleanup later. We find local communities once again using, heavily monitored, well water to supply the local communities again. Additionally because of both state and federal regulations the cleanup will continue and Joint Base Cape Cod has a pollution prevention plan that is a model for the nation and will help carry on the National Guards dedication to environmental stewardship.
Well water can provide a local, cheap and effective source of water however; as with surface water, well water should be monitored for health and safety concerns prior to consumption and then periodically thereafter.
Dr. Vijaybhai’s Answer
The bore well water is widely used considering full control over usage of bore well water. Everyone think that, water available under owned land is property of owner and they can use it without any restriction. However, over use of bore well water creates long term impact on water availability. Imbalance in water harvesting and water exploration affects local environment and ecology. Further, use of bore well water for agriculture increases salt content in the soil. Basically, short term convenience and control leads to higher usage of bore well water.