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Will a Water Well Fill Your Well-Heeled Pond?

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November 7, 2012
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Pond Boss subscriber Bob Durham dropped us an email asking about using a well to fill a pond. During my travels around this great country, I am privileged to be involved in a diverse range of projects. One thing about wells always strikes me during conversations with landowners.

Here’s a typical exchange. Landowner says, “If my watershed isn’t quite big enough, I may just drill a well and fill the pond.” Or, one might say, “If the pond leaks, we can just punch a well and keep it full.”

It ain’t quite that easy, folks.Pond

Here’s where I always start. Remember this number…it’s of huge value as you think about a well. One acre, one inch deep, is 27,000 gallons. That’s twenty seven thousand gallons of water! Many wells are drilled for domestic uses, water for the house, maybe for livestock. But, do some math. If you have a well which produces 10 gallons a minute, 600 gallons an hour, 14,400 per day…hmmm…and you have a three acre pond?

People tend to think a “well” will do them well. Not necessarily so. While I never discourage someone to drill a well, I do think it wise to do a little research and think it out, forgive me, “well.” A well thought out well will be better than an expensive hole in the ground.

While volume is important, so is quality. You don’t necessarily need to go way down deep to get water of pond quality. Fish and plants like hard, mineral laden water. If a shallow aquifer has iron, lime, other minerals and metals, it’s likely pretty good for fish. Don’t drink it, though. Hard water with lots of minerals doesn’t taste like Ozarka.

Pond With Iron DepositsI have yet to see pure water come out of te ground. Contrary to popular belief, most groundwater is loaded with something it absorbed along it's trek toward the middle of the Earth. As water seeps downward,into aquifers, it digests rocks, metals, gasses, and organic matter it might pass through. When it sees the light of day, everything changes. Don't be surprised if your well water leaves a nice coat of orange on everything it touches. Iron. Or, it might bless you wiht the ever-effusive aroma of rotten eggs. Sulfur.

I had a well drilled just more than a year ago. The driller I chose has been a client for years. I stocked his pond years ago. He is also the main well guy I refer people. He is knowledgeable, and willing to answer all questions. I told him I needed at least fifty gallons per minute to serve my fish vat shed, and to fill any one of six ponds on my home site. While he couldn’t honestly guarantee what I might get, he took away much of the guesswork by drilling a hole big enough, and finishing the well appropriately, with the correct size pump. As long as there was water in the aquifer, the well would do its job. So far, so good. The well produces 75-80 gallons a minute. It has iron, a little sulfur, but is buffered very well, with plenty of lime in it. It serves the purpose we need.

Here’s what you need to do. Define the purpose of your potential well. Calculate volume of water you will need. Then, define the quality of water. Do you intend to drink it? Often, there sits more than one aquifer underneath your land. Pick the one you want based on defined need. Next, talk to the driller about costs and your expectations.

My well went to 360 feet of depth, pump set at 180. Total cost? Slightly less than $10,000.

Don’t be cavalier about your thinking. After all, you may not want to toss ten grand into a hole which might produce just enough water to bathe.

Read "Several Well Stories To Tell" for more insights on wells and pond management.

Written by Bob Lusk, Pond Boss Editor and Fisheries Biologist

POND BOSS Magazine is the world’s leading resource for fish, pond and fisheries management information including discussions on muddy water, raising trophy fish, fish feeding, building a pond, algae control and more. Check us out at or contact Bob Lusk, the Pond Boss himself. Call FREE 903-564-5372 .


Bob Lusk

Nationally known fisheries biologist Bob Lusk, based in Whitesboro, Texas has helped people design, build, stock and manage private lakes and ponds for more than 32 years. The 57 year old graduate of Texas A&M University travels the country as a lake and fisheries consultant. He is editor of Pond Boss, a national bimonthly magazine dedicated to managing private waters. Lusk has also written three books, Basic Pond Management, Raising Trophy Bass, and Perfect Pond, Want One?

Lusk's career has spanned the gamut of private freshwater fisheries management. He works primarily in the South and Southeast, helping clients learn to be better stewards of their water, while growing balanced populations of sport fish in recreational ponds and lakes. He consults on everything from stocking small ponds to creating world class fishing programs for his select group of clientele, to designing the perfect bass fishing lake.

Early in his career, Lusk owned or managed small hatcheries raising catfish, freshwater shrimp, sport fish and associated forage fishes. But, his passion lies in helping landowners become better managers of their water and wildlife resources.

Not only does Lusk also edit the premier pond management magazine in the nation, he has authored hundreds of articles about the subject. He makes personal appearances at trade shows and seminars to spread the word of pond management and has been on numerous television shows from Alan Warren Outdoors to Bass Edge and many, many vignettes seen on Animal Makeover TV on RFD-TV as well as Monday Night Live on RFD-TV, sponsored by Purina Mills.

Bob Lusk can be reached at

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  • Guest

    Guest (FishinFool)

    Very interesting article.