Water wells run dry in Butte County

Water worries hit familes who rely on wells

The statewide drought is greatly affecting the 10 to 15 percent of Butte County homes that rely on wells to supply their water. 

Businesses like G&S Pump in Chico are fielding as many as 100 calls per day, according to owner Steve Gwathney.  He said his workers are putting in 12 hour days each day of the week, drilling homeowners' wells deeper into the ground where, hopefully, they'll find water. 

Gwathney said he serviced five homes in one day in just one southwest Chico neighborhood.  He noticed that the water table was 120 feet deep in that string of homes.  About a decade ago, the water table was 20 feet, Gwathney said.

"We can typically go deeper and find the water," said Gwathney.  "But nobody has taxed the wells the way we're taxing them now." 

"I'd love to give you a forecast of how far the water will drop, but we've never seen this before," said Gwathney. "It's kind of unheard of."


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