How to Measure a Water Table

Written by chelsea fitzgerald
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How to Measure a Water Table
Fishing bobbers are useful in measuring water table levels. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

During times of severe drought, water table levels in a well may run dry. It is important to allow the pump in your well to rest for several hours before measuring the static water level or water table, according to Oregon State University. The water table is the distance from the ground level down to the water in your well. Checking these levels is important to determine whether the well is going dry or has a sufficient recovery time.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Small weight, such as a nut or fishing weight
  • Fishing bobber or float -- approximately 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter
  • Fishing line or lightweight string -- 200 feet
  • Coloured marker or a piece of tape
  • Tape measurement

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  1. 1

    Tie the weight to one end of your fishing line or string.

  2. 2

    Place the bobber approximately 1 inch above the weight on the string.

  3. 3

    Slide the well cap off the well and place the end of the string with the weight on it into the well casing.

  4. 4

    Lower the weight into the well slowly until you feel the line go slack or limp. This means it has reached the water table.

  5. 5

    Mark the line or string at the top of the well casing. You can do this with a coloured marker, a piece of tape or even a knot.

  6. 6

    Pull the string back out of the well.

  7. 7

    Measure the length from the marker on the string down to the weight. This measurement is your water table depth. Record the measurement so that you can compare it at a future date.

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