We've had unusually dry weather and our well has run so low that we had to call in a water hauling company to refill it a few days ago.

The water man told me that even though he dumped in ~ 1000 gallons, a great part of it will seep out of the well to the surrounding (drier) aquifer, the same way groundwater makes its way inside the well in normal conditions.

I'm thinking I could get some kind of drinking-water-safe plastic poly sheet sown or welded together at the seam to create a long and flexible tubing.

Then dropping the "sleeve" in the well with a heavy-ish "hoola-hoop"-shaped material the diameter of the well attached at the bottom of the sleeve end to weigh it down.

Wouldn't that effectively transform the well into a usable water reservoir?

Does this sound doable?

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    – BMitch
    Jun 23, 2015 at 20:24
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    What is the diameter and depth of your well now? What type of pump does it have (submersible, jet, non-jet surface mounted)
    – Ecnerwal
    Jun 25, 2015 at 13:43

2 Answers 2


Your aphorism of the day: Theory and Practice are the same in Theory, but Different in Practice.

As a practical matter it's going to be near-impossible to fabricate, install, and install a pump or suction pipe into a plastic-sheet-tube without poking a hole in the plastic. If you manage to succeed, you've disabled your well - if no water can get out, no water can come in.

Generally, if you need a cistern, you'll do better to put in a cistern than to try and use a well as a cistern. 275 and 330 gallon food grade plastic pallet tanks are widely available for one quick/temporary solution, a stock watering tank with a fabricated cover is another that's widely available. If it's a long-term need, buried concrete tanks are the standard for large volume storage. If using the translucent plastic tanks, cover them to block light so you don't start growing algae.

Drilling your well deeper is probably the better solution. Alternatively, if you put in a cistern for delivered water, and you have some water in the bottom of the well, adding a small, slow pump to pump from the well into the cistern is another workable approach. While your main well pump presumably sucks the well dry when it's low, a much slower pump can extract a constant trickle of water and place it into your cistern/storage, from which you can pump to the house at higher speed when you need water.


Your proposed situation is not practical. You should look into solutions which will allow you to warehouse large amounts of potable water.

A large bladder tank would also be a good idea because it will be able to deliver constant water pressure and it could fill up slowly throughout the day.

The way a bladder tank works is that there is a rubber membrane inside of the tank which takes pressure to expand. Well water is then pumped into one side and there is a check valve which prevents the water from going backwards in the system. Then when there is a demand for water, the membrane pushes it out at a specified pressure.

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