Water Well Owners In East Texas Concerned Due To Drought - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/3/06-Smith County

Water Well Owners In East Texas Concerned Due To Drought

Water well owners in East Texas say they are at the mercy of mother nature to be able to perform their their day-to-day chores. Hundreds are worried about their levels going down because of the drought. One of the many areas being affected is on FM 2015 in Tyler.  One East Texas woman says having no water cost her her job and her home.

"We would get about that much water and we would have to wash in that much water and from there it just kept on going and finally nothing, nothing," said Cynthia Upchurch, 34, a former FM 2015 resident .

Upchurch says it was three years ago when her well began to dry up. Upchurch was told it would cost about $20,000 to dig a deeper well, something she could not afford.

She says her only source of water was to go to gas stations and fill up five-gallon jugs.  "That was for cooking, bathing, cleaning, washing and cleaning because we were trying to do the house inside," said Upchurch.

She says juggling her full-time job, her children and carrying water back to her home became too much and she was fired. "That last straw for me to move out is when I lost my job.  My husband almost lost his job.  My child couldn't go to school because he couldn't bathe," said Upchurch.

Well drilling companies we spoke with say well owners are faced with low water levels at this time each year. "We're blessed in East Texas with having an abundant supply of shallow ground water compared to west Texas. But during periods of drought we've all conceived problems due to a lack of rainfall," said M H C X-Ploration vice president Ken Collum.

Upchurch has advice for residents looking to buy a home with a water well. "You have to make sure it's deep enough. You have to make sure it's encased right. You have to make sure it hasn't collapsed in itself," said Upchurch.   "This one went dry. You have to make sure you have another site that you can tap into and you have to have the money."

The best way, she says, to avoid this happening to you is to hire an inspector to look at your well's condition.

Installing a water well costs an average of $5,000. Collum says if it is properly installed, it should last indefinitely, but maintenance costs between $200 and $300 per year.      

Oralia Ortega, Reporting.  ortega@kltv.com


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