Laura down the Well (poço)

When I was last here at the start of April Mum and Dad put me down the well to clean it (‘well’ translates to ‘poço’). We rely on well water for all our water uses, apart from using bottled water for drinking. If someone told me that I had to shower with well water then I would imagine that I would get a face full of muddy water and I wouldn’t be a happy bunny but that’s not the case! I would actually argue that our well water is just as clean and clear as mains water.

Well water is completely free, we only incur the cost of electricity to pump it, but it is important to keep wells clean because debris can contaminate the water. All I needed to do was use the swimming pool pole to scoop up debris, such as leaves, and remove any stray plants. My parents also thought it would be funny to put me down the well.

How does a well work?

We have a submersible electric pump, which sucks water into a pressure tank. This tank holds the water until we turn a tap on and hey presto. Don’t ask me how it technically works as I have no idea.

Wells are typically very deep and go beneath ground level, this is because they rely on something called the ‘water table’. The water table is where rainwater soaks into the ground, goes through fissures and eventually saturates beneath the ground level. Just think back to your geography classes when your teacher was going on about rain falling into the mountains. Gravity plays its part and it eventually flows down into the water table.

Therefore, a rule of thumb is that the deeper the well, the more water you’ll get out of it. But well water isn’t infinite, as it relies on there being sufficient water in the water table. So particularly in the dry months it will be significantly reduced. Therefore if you deplete the water in your well then you will need to wait for it to recover by taking in water from the water table, and who knows how long that’ll take! We’re currently using a 6-metre long bamboo pole to figure that out.

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