Merced County Times Newspaper
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What Happens When Your Well Goes Dry?

John Derby
Times Publisher John Derby

This is the first time in my life I have had to depend on a well for my water, and I have been seriously thinking of letting my lawn go dry.

However, it would be the only lawn on the whole block which would be dry.

Then as fate would have it, the Saturday of July 4th weekend, I woke up, and there was no water. The well had gone dry.

At six in the morning, it is hard to find help and after checking the breaker switch at the electrical box, I was sure it had to be the pump.

There was a label on the pump which stated the name of the last pump company that had done work on the well. I called an answering service and waited for the reply. Meanwhile, I started filling buckets of water from the swimming pool to use for the toilets.

I have relatives who are used to dealing with wells and pumps because they are farmers, but the only well I would have used was an ink well — and computers replaced them long ago.

Drinking water was purchased from the store and I started wondering how long the plants and the lawn would last without water in this 100-degree-plus weather.

When the repairman did call, he said the call would be at “time and a half,” and cash payment only as the office was closed.

I asked how much and he started adding up. There would be the pump and the motor, then in all likelihood, the pump would have to be lowered to a deeper level.

Was any of it covered by warranties? Unlikely.

The house would save what cool air could be saved. The ice in the refrigerator was used to water the indoor plants.

In a recent editorial, I recalled writing about living in a high desert and using water like I lived in an oasis. It was a little late to wonder why I didn’t take my own advice.

Normally the city would have already sent out watering notices; however, I was no longer in the city and up to my own devices to deal with the problem, which I had helped incur.

By noon, the pump company employee showed up and said the obvious. He was working solo and this was a job for two men.

There was another employee working on another job but he wouldn’t be free until 3 p.m.

“That was alright,” I said because I had to go to the bank to get that much cash.

“About how much do you think it will cost,” I asked, with hesitation.

“Oh, about $3,200,” he said, adding: “Of course that is an estimate”.

“Wow! I can’t live without water,” I said, muttering to myself.

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