Restore old spring

smilestillAugust 17, 2012

Hello group, I am trying to clean out an old spring in order to restore it and use it more effectively.

We have been trying to locate a local groundwater source sufficient to

water some experimental alternative crops. My family has a long

history of farming this region, but mostly traditional crops. Our

original plan is rather unambitious, we want to grow an acre, maybe

two, of grapes, and an experimental large family garden to experiment

with others.

We began our search for water this year, and so far have drilled four

very dry wells on the site. Having expended that much energy and

capitol made me start asking a lot more questions; which led me to a

very small cattle pond in the corner of the property. It has always

been historically referred to as a spring across several generations.

Last year during the height of the drought one small corner of the

pond remained, while the rest of it evaporated. This was not the

deepest part of the pond, nor was it shaded or protected as other

parts of the pond were. Despite being in the sun this area was always

cool to the touch, much more so than would be expected for it's size,

and it was able to sustain a lot of larger fish. This in an area that

was ten feet in diameter, and maybe two feet at it's deepest part.

I am not sure if it is relevant, but this area is also roughly in line

with a known well site to the south, an old windmill to the north, and

another spring further north.

This year we build a damn separating that part of the pond from the

rest of it. We noted a 4 to 6 degree gradient between the two bodies

of water with the suspected spring site (where the water remained the

previous year) being much cooler despite being a much smaller body of

water. We then proceeded to dig the area out to a depth of

approximately ten feet, pretty much the most we could do with our

farm equipment. We were impressed that the soil was damp enough to

work with tractors, but we never found a geyser of water shooting

thirty feet in the air. Admittedly, I didn't think I would (but

wouldn't that be nice.)

After a lot of work, we were a little disheartened. it seemed the

deeper we went the drier things got. We dug through topsoil, a lot of

red clay, and were getting into a gravel like shale near the end. We

left the site alone for a week, trying to decide if we should go

deeper, or if we should just let it become a deeper expansion to the

existing pond.

When we came back there was one spot at the bottom, that, although it

was dry when we last saw it. That muddy spot had survived the week of

record 115 degree heat. I got very excited, probably silly, but I did.

I then hooked up the auger to the tractor, and drilled a hole. Then I

drilled ten more, just for good measure. (Each four feet by eight


The first hole, where the mud was forming on the surface, filled

quickest, but not by any stretch of the mind, quickly. The four foot

hole filled to three feet in about a week. Of the ten holes, all have

standing water, but not to the same level. Two are nearly dry, but the

bottoms are mud. There is no consistent pattern to which hole filled

first or fastest or most.

All, except the first, appear to be filling from the bottom, there is

no obvious sign it is coming out of the side. The first however,

showed four spots on the sides that did seem to be the sources of the


That's a lot of information, and I really appreciate you sitting through it.

The question I have now is, whats next?

Are the holes filling because of seep water flowing to them, or are

they filling from below as it appears? (is there a test that can be

done to differentiate the two water sources? or some characteristic

that can be measured?)

Do we dig deeper, and if so what are the chances that we will get more

water from the area?

I have been monitoring the water levels, and was hoping to see if a

barometric drop would affect them as I have been told it would. (is

that true? wouldn't affected seep as well?)

My goal has always been to leave an area better than I found it, and

there are stories in the family where kids used to play here, and you

could see the water being pushed to the surface; but that story is

lost to time, and we aren't quite sure this is the location they were

talking about, but, regardless, I would love to develop it, and

protect it for future generations as well.

If you could lend me some advice, or point me in the right direction of someone

who might, that would be fantastic.

Thank you,


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I would suggest doing some research on the known water resources in your area. That will give you a better idea of what you have to work with. The Oklahoma Water Resources Board is the agency that handles groundwater here in our state and issues permits for wells, so their website may be a good place to look.

Pictures might help us get a better idea of what you're doing, but from the sound of it you're only digging down into the water table and it's slowly filling the hole back up again. If you want faster water flow you'll need either need to dig a lot deeper or hire a professional to install a well for you that draws from deeper confined groundwater basins. For that you'll need to apply for a permit from OWRB, though, as far as I know.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2012 at 5:23PM
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By the way, I did a quick search and found this document from OWRB describing groundwater resources in the Garfield County area. It has a lot of useful information, and it mentions that a lot of the wells already drilled in the area are on average about 50 feet deep even though they typically first hit water about 20 feet down.


    Bookmark   August 17, 2012 at 5:36PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I second the recommendation of the OWRB. I'll link one of their documents. Around pages 16-18 they have maps showing the aquifers. That will give you a rough idea if your property is on top of an aquifer, which is a good starting point.

Here is a link that might be useful: OWRB Well Water Publication

    Bookmark   August 17, 2012 at 5:42PM
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