Water wells are a good alternative -- sometimes the only possible alternative -- for those homes that are not connected to a city water system. But water wells obviously function much differently than home water systems, so homeowners who use water wells need to know what to do when faced with a problem with their well. Should a water well dry up altogether, for instance, the issue can be addressed by making a few careful considerations.
Several possible causes account for a dried up water well. A well works by pumping water from the underground water table up to a home; if there is no water to be had, the pump will simply suck air rather than water, which can sometimes be caused by a water table's moving from one soil level to a deeper level at which a water well pump cannot access it. Severe drought conditions can cause groundwater to simply dry up (rather than moving downward) due to soil water evaporation and a lack of rainfall to supplement the dry soil. A simpler cause is if scale and mineral buildup on the inside of the well pump constricts water flow to the point that no water is pumped up to the home.
Minor Well Repairs
The first step to fixing a dry well is to verify that the well is actually dry. Hire a professional well technician to check the pump to see if scale and mineral buildup has slowed water flow to a trickle; if it has, get the pump cleaned and see if normal water flow returns. If the pump or any other component of the water well is damaged in any way, the pump's effectiveness could also be compromised, so replace or repair any damaged water well components.
Fixing a Dry Well
Unfortunately, if a well is truly dry, little can be done to fix it and restore it to full working order. If your community is experiencing a severe drought, your well may return to normal functioning after rainfall introduces more moisture to soil and replenishes the water table, but you will need to find an alternative water supply until the drought subsides. If the water table has simply moved to a lower soil level, your only option is to replace the well altogether.
The exact method used to replace a well depends on the conditions of the well. If the pump is long enough, you can possibly lower it so that it makes contact with the water table at its new depth. This option can be just as expensive as installing a new well altogether, however, and does not guarantee that the water table will move below the well's reach again. Investigate both options to see which one is the most cost effective for your water well's needs.