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East Bay property owners drill for water

August 26, 2008 7:23:37 PM PDT
The hunt for water is on in Contra Costa County. The number of property owners seeking well drilling permits has spiked, ever since East Bay MUD announced mandatory rationing and higher rates earlier this summer.

It's a boon inside a drought for companies like Pacific Coast Well and Pump, which has seen business double in a few months.

"In this area here we have quite a few wells in this Livorna area and we kind of know the water table here in this area," says Mike Klassen of Pacific Coast Well and Pump.

Most property owners also hire geologists, who often use the tried and true divining rod to locate the most fruitful spot to drill.

Once the hole is drilled, the homeowner needs a pump and a tank to get the water out.

"We are swamped," says Tom Heath, Walnut Creek Vacuum and Pump.

Heath sells well equipment, the pipe, the pumps and the tanks.

"This time last year, we were probably doing 25 percent of the business we're doing today."

Worried about his large lawn and fruit trees, Colin Schlesinger just installed a well that supplies 30 gallons per minute.

"We had to go down 250 feet," says Schlesinger.

It's a system that runs about $20,000.

"Our concern was not being able to get the water. We acknowledge that the cost of drilling the well will not be paid back by the amount we save," says Schlesinger.

Because well water is often heavy in minerals, it's not always good for use inside homes or in swimming pools. But, for those with lots of thirsty landscaping, having a well can save as much as 80 percent off a monthly water bill -- that is if they can find someone to drill it. And right now, this company is fully booked until January.


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