If you buy property in an area without a municipal water system, you’ll need to rely on well water. What are the differences between getting your water from a well compared to relying on city water?
Pros and cons of city-supplied water
The biggest advantage of receiving your water from a city system is simplicity. When you move into a new home, you contact the local water department, open an account, and then you’re all set. The city maintains the pumping, purification, and piping to supply homes and businesses in the area. All you do is pay the monthly bill.
But relying on city water is not without its problems. The monthly rates you pay for water can rise. Forget to pay the bill and your water may be cut off. If a local construction project accidentally ruptures a water main, you may have no water until it is repaired.
Pros and cons of well water
Owning a well gives you independence. You have your own water supply and don’t have to rely on anyone else. You no longer have a monthly water bill. If you have a septic system for waste disposal, you are self-sufficient other than for maintenance and repair. But wells can be expensive to drill and require ongoing maintenance.
The cost of having a well drilled varies by location. Government water conservation districts have been created across the country, particularly in drought-prone states, to regulate drilling practices. Some set a minimum number of acres on which a well can be permitted, and the well drilling and installation company have to follow established practices to protect aquifer water supplies.
The drilling depth needed to hit sufficient water and the difficulty of the strata through which the service must drill are major cost drivers. Once the well is drilled, you must add a casing, a cap and a system for pumping well water to the house. The cost of drilling a new well and buying and installing the system can run $15,000 or more. You may also need a water softener and purifier to remove alkaline and mineral content from the well water, which can add another $3,000.
Cost recovery period
To determine how long it will take to recoup the cost of obtaining well water, divide the total cost of the well by the average monthly bill for city water. Recovering the cost of the well may take many years, but the intangible benefit of having your own, uninterrupted service may make using well water worthwhile.