Well water decline in the Tammany Creek area

LEWISTON, ID - Water experts warn of a drastic decline in water levels of private wells in the area.

KLEW's Sophia Miraglio explains what the scientists have learned from water monitoring studies in the region and what the next step is to solve the problem.

Private shallow wells are drying up, and land owners around the area are drilling even deeper if they can afford to. For private well owners it's too expensive to drill down to the regional aquifer, that receives an endless recharge from the river.

" It cost me $17,000 to go from 200 feet to 475 feet," said concerned citizen Ralph Crawford.

A shallow well's recharge comes from ground precipitation, however there's too much demand and not enough supply.

"Drawing out more water than is being recharged or added each year, then the water level will go down and that's what's happening," said RHS Inc. Geologist Dr. Dale Ralston.

The monitoring of twelve wells in the Tammany creek area provided this evidence, but the cause is still anyone's guess.

"We got a history of caving in and being on fault line," said concerned citizen Brian Dunlap. "I would say that the blasting in that area could have as much effect as an earthquake."

"I can't believe that the state doesn't know that they drilled those de-watering wells, five wells pumping 250 gallons a minute," said Crawford.

The next step is to create a citizen advisory group, which would meet monthly to examine the problem and develop a plan of action with one simple goal in mind.

"To help protect the ones that are out there and future wells," said Water Resources Dept. Keith Franklin.

Those working on the issue hope to increase well monitoring, which could cost more than $10,000 to do so.