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using old well for irrigation

Posted by Sarah80 5B OH (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 18, 13 at 22:56

I have a 7.4 acre property. We've been slowly evolving towards a drought I think (Central OH). We're on public water, but there is an old well that was used prior to water lines on our street.

We were thinking of installing an irrigation system, and using the well for it (free water).

We're meeting with a company next week to get a quote, but the person I talked to said there are a few ways to design the system for max efficiency...such as rain sensors, moisture sensors (buried in soil), etc so you don't water when it's raining, etc.

Absolute worst-case, I'd probably need to use about 22,000 gallons of water per day. If we "zone" off the property (lawn, veggies, planting beds, etc) we can spread our watering out over the week doing a zone or two per day. Part will be lawn, but a lot of it won't so we might consider "drip" irrigation, etc.

Would a typical well in Ohio be able to handle that capacity?

Also, do I have to get "permission" from the county to use an existing well, or only to drill a new one?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: using old well for irrigation

Some more questions since I'm already here:

1. I plan to have lawn area, which would probably overall need the most water. I plan to do deep, once-weekly watering of around an inch, not the every day 15 minute spritzes lots of people do. I have a tall fescue lawn. These zones will probably have traditional sprinkler heads.

2. I will also have multiple zones for different planting beds...some will have a large tree plus some smaller things. These probably won't be watered regularly, but I want the ability to water fairly easily if the need arises, such as a drought. Since traditional rotor or spray heads are probably not the best option for trees/shrubs/perennials, what should I do? I am thinking some type of drip irrigation, even a detachable type thing, what options do I have here? I'd want something that I could do relatively easily if we have a dry spell, but it doesn't have to be there all the time.

3. Veggie garden etc. Similar to #2 - probably needs more water but a drip-type system is more useful.

The drip irrigation confuses me. I've used soaker hoses, but those might be cumbersome (if not impossible) to attach to an inground system. The bigger ones I've seen out west would be ugly if permanently sitting in a landscape.

Even the #2/#3 zones, I want to have something on a timer, semi-automated to where if I am choosing to use it, it will turn on and shut off as needed. Perhaps a rain sensor, etc.

Some summers here we don't even really need to water our lawns, so I want to be able to shut it on and off as needed but also have it automatic at times too, since droughts and dry spells do happen.

RE: using old well for irrigation

More questions (still waiting for answers...this forum is much less active than Trees is!)

-if the well water is "hard" and alkaline (both likely here, but I haven't tested) will it cause my irrigation system to clog up?

Is there a way to avoid this without chemicals that could hurt my plants or soil?

RE: using old well for irrigation


I wouldn't bite the hand that is there to help you. It say much about how you do business. You are seeking help for free and from other people who may be busy sometime and not on your time table. My advice is to seek professional help because your area is so large and diverse. I would go with the local talent who has can actually see your predicament. You are already getting some advice from a well contractor and other irrigation contractors. Get three separate contractors to give you ideas and bids. The forum then can help you analyze the quotes. You have asked many questions but provided very little actual information to make informed recommendation. Aloha

RE: using old well for irrigation

Feasible for sure, but you'd have to have some serious GPMs from that well to do that much water each day. Even if you were to plan it to take 8 hours each day to apply the 22,000 gallons, that's 45 gallons per minute, and that doesn't count for the fact that the system won't be able put out the full amt the well is capable of. I seem to recall 80% being the best-case scenario I read somewhere.

Since a lot of wells can only do about 5 GPM or less...your first order of business is to test that well and see what kind of output it has.

RE: using old well for irrigation

Well, turns out that even for the scaled-back system we ended up looking at, our well puts out less than a quarter of the water we'd need to make it work. It wasn't even quite 2 GPM.

The better news is, we might be buying a lot and building, so this might not matter!

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