How to Tell When Your Well is Going to Run Dry

If you live in a rural or semi-rural area, you may rely on a well for your water needs. While most wells will provide the necessary water for your home without problems, years of drought or man-made changes in the water table can cause your well to run dry.

If you experience a persistent problem with any one of these indicators, or experience more than one problem at once, you should immediately get someone to test your well. A water recovery test will determine the condition of your well and a professional should be able to tell you if you can pump out your existing well or if a new well will have to be dug.

Spitting and Sputtering

A good indication that your well may be running dry is spitting or sputtering at the faucet. This could indicate that the well pump is having difficulty pulling enough water from the well. Instead of a steady stream of water, the water mixes with air in the line as the pump attempts to pull water from above the water line. When you turn on the tap, spitting and sputtering occur, indicating a lack of water in your well.


Well water should taste clean and without smell. Any alteration in the smell or taste of your water is a good indication that something has gone wrong with your well. The lack of water in your well causes impurities within the well itself to become more concentrated. As your well begins to run dry, it causes an unpleasant taste.

The moment you notice a funny taste to your water, switch to bottled water for your drinking and cooking needs. Contact your local university’s cooperative extension: they should offer water testing services or referrals to make sure that something has not infected the well. If the water is free of contaminates, your next step should be checking the water depth in your well.

Cloudy Appearance

The cloudy appearance of the water coming out of your faucet is a good sign that something is the matter with your well. As the water available in your well is reduced, sediment can mix with the remaining water, causing a cloudy appearance to the water. The water may also taste muddy.


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