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Amid drought, some S. Deschutes County homeowners say their wells are drying up

'Suddenly mid-shower, it just shut off completely'

LA PINE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A serious drought, low snowpack and more homes being built in the area means the water supply is low for some in southern Deschutes County. Some residents are seeing their wells are drying up. But they can't just drill deeper. Most property owners need to dig an entirely new well, to hit more water.

One La Pine woman said she had to have her wells pump replaced because she ran out of water.

"I started noticing a pressure change in the water first, then it got to the point where it wouldn't work in the bathroom, it wouldn't work in the kitchen, and then suddenly mid-shower it just shut off completely," Nicole Retzleff told NewsChannel 21 on Wednesday. "So then you're in your towel running next door trying to finish just -- a daily task."

Some people have had to change the way they water their property. Diana Gewin in the Three Rivers area says she has to hand-water her grass, instead of using a sprinkler, which evaporates too fast. But hand-watering has it's challenges.

"I have to stand out here for like an hour and a half a day to hand-water to get everything in there. It's an interruption, but this is where we live, so this is what we have to do to be able to stay here." Gewin said.

Dry conditions means a higher demand for water. Most well basins are shared by several neighbors, and Andy High, the owner of Thompson Plumbing and Irrigation, says that means the water supply is connected.

"It's all a cycle, and we're all connected and that's a key piece. Our snow pack was light and the 90 degree days aren't helping because it's melting things faster," said Andy High, owner of Thompson Plumb and Irrigation.

High says there are a few ways to help conserve water. Do dishes and irrigate at night, get a cistern, which collects water, and see if your well pump needs replacing.

The cost to dig a new well can be $3,000 to $10,000.



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Carly Keenan

Carly Keenan is a multimedia journalist and producer for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Carly here.

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