Local wells running low

County reports average two-foot drop since 2008

“You don’t miss your water till the well runs dry,” goes the old song. It’s a metaphor, of course, but the reality in Butte County is that we’re in the third year of a drought and quite a few folks are likely to miss their water before the summer is out.

That’s because, even this early in the year, about half the water wells in the county are not at desirable levels, according to the spring groundwater monitoring report from the county Department of Water and Resource Conservation.

They weren’t at desirable levels in the spring of 2008, either, and this year they’re roughly two feet lower, on average, with one irrigation well used as a monitor measuring 11 feet lower.

The result may be “further difficulty in pumping during the peak irrigation season,” writes Kristen McKillop (pictured), the department’s program development manager, in a press release. Farmers are encouraged to conserve, plan in advance and work with their neighbors to avoid overdrawing the aquifer.

The department’s home page at www.buttecounty.net contains updated drought information.