Design of High Capacity, Energy Efficient Wells

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Agriculture is the largest user of ground water in the United States.  Ground water at dairies is used for cow drinking, milking parlor clean-up and crop irrigation.  Ground water is produced from wells that often are improperly designed and completed. Inefficient well design, including improperly sized pumps, results in increased pumping costs and increases the frequency that wells and/or pumps have to be replaced.  Inefficient wells require significantly more energy to pump lesser amounts of water than properly designed wells.  Sand production from unconsolidated or poorly-consolidated aquifers reduces the effective life of the well and pump.  Sand production is significantly reduced by properly sizing the well screen and filter pack. Pilot holes are drilled so grain size analyses can be conducted and well screen and filter pack can be properly sized.  Geophysical logs may be utilized to identify zones of maximum potential production.  The pilot holes are reamed out to the design diameter and the well is constructed with an optimal screen and filter pack combination.  Efficient wells are designed with maximum open-area and proper filter packs, so well screens are not dewatered and the well does not pump sand or air.  Production tests on the completed well allow the pump motor and bowls to be sized and set to a depth that will maximize pump efficiency and water production while minimizing power costs.  An efficient, sand-free well will save a farmer significant money on energy costs to produce water, and the well and pump lifetime will be extended significantly.  Water wells should be designed carefully to maximize well and pump efficiency in order to conserve energy and not produce sand.


To provide technical guidance on design development and completion of energy efficient wells to extend the operating life of wells and pumps.

What Did We Do?

We improved well efficiencies and reduced energy costs for pumping ground water.

What Have We Learned?

 To continue drilling, designing, developing and completing wells using techniques we have developed over the last 33 years. 

Future Plans

Continue to develop innovative methods for drilling wells.


Jay Lazarus, President, Glorieta Geoscience, Inc.

Jim Riesterer, Senior Geologist, Glorieta Geoscience, Inc.

Additional Information


Staff of Glorieta Geoscience, Inc.

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How can I prevent leaching of nitrate into groundwater from manure applications?

Nitrate contamination of groundwater occurs when excess nitrate in the soil profile moves along with water that is moving down past the root zone of the crop. In most cases, it is not possible to keep water from moving past the roots, so the only other option for preventing nitrate leaching is to avoid having excess nitrate present in the root zone during times when leaching events are likely to occur. Determine the available nitrogen content of manure prior to application, and don’t apply more available nitrogen than the crop can use. Make the applications as close to the time the crop will use the nitrogen as possible.

Although only available nitrogen is subject to leaching, organic form nitrogen will become available as it mineralizes, at which time it too can leach if not utilized by the crop. The amount of nitrogen that will mineralize prior to and during the crop season should be taken into account when calculating manure application rates. If significant mineralization from previous applications is expected, plan to have a crop present to utilize it prior to leaching events.