To ensure that it continues to supply enough water to meet customer demands, especially at this time of extreme drought, Palmdale Water District (PWD) is drilling its first groundwater well in 31 years.
Well 36, located north of 15th Street East at Rancho Vista Boulevard, is scheduled to be in operation by early 2023. It will produce between 1,000-1,300 acre-feet of water annually, or enough water for about 2,000 families in Palmdale. An acre-foot of water is equal to 326,000 gallons, and a family of four uses an average of 190,000 gallons of water each year.
The $6.7 million total cost for the new well breaks down to $2.07 million for drilling and $4.6 million for equipment.
“The construction of Well 36 is happening at a very opportune time,” said PWD Board President Gloria Dizmang. “With the drought, we are not getting enough surface water from the State Water Project, so groundwater is so important. I applaud the staff for their foresight and making sure we continue to find ways to provide water to our customers.”
Currently, PWD has 22 active wells. In 2021, those wells pumped 9,844 acre-feet of water that was disinfected with chlorine and distributed to many of the residents and businesses who depend on PWD’s water. The District’s groundwater does not require extensive treatment like surface water. Its cost is mainly for the electricity to run the motors that drive the well pumps.
“This is an important milestone for us because our last well, Well 35, was drilled in 1991,” said General Manager Dennis D. LaMoreaux. “Many of our operating wells are old, including one constructed in 1956, and some will soon be non-operable. This new well will give the District redundancy in our total groundwater pumping capacity.”
In the near future, seven existing wells that will not be financially beneficial for rehabilitation and no longer viable to be operated will be taken out of production, according to PWD Engineering Manager Scott Rogers. He said losing those seven wells will reduce PWD’s groundwater supply by about 1,800 acre-feet per year. If Well 36 operates at 80% of the year at 12 hours a day, it will produce up to 1,300 acre-feet.
Well 36 is being drilled by Zim Industries, Inc., dba Bakersfield Well & Pump Co. It was the selected based on its experience, availability and low proposed fee.