Private wells in Lehigh Acres drying up amid drought

The impact of the severe drought affect much of Southwest Florida can be seen in this Lehigh Acres canal. The water source for Lehigh was at a 40-year-low in March 2017, according to the South Florida Water Management District.

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. A severe drought in Southwest Florida has been tough on Maria and her family.

Maria, who didn’t want to reveal her last name, said the family’s private well stopped working due to the area’s low aquifer levels, causing them to go without water for three days.

Although it rained Friday, it wasn’t enough to replenish canals, lakes and wells, which forced the family to get creative.

“I’ve got good water from my mom and neighbor,” Maria said.

The family is currently storing some of that water in a giant bucket on the back of a flatbed truck.

Kenny Baker, owner of Kenny Baker Well Drilling Inc. at 1830 Acacia Ave, has been helping homeowners dealing with the same problem as Maria.  He said the problem isn’t from the aquifer going dry, as there’s plenty of water underneath; it’s the well depth, as well as a pump that’s unable to reach the lower levels of water. This is especially an issue with older homes.

“They (the pumps) are 20 something years old, they’ve rotted off and the table is out from under them, which it is all the way down on the south side of Lee Boulevard,” he said. “That’s a problem.”

Baker recommends using a submersible pump that goes deep into the well and sucks up that low level of water during the dry season.

However, the installation of the new pump can cost over $5,000.

“We don’t know what water means until we don’t have it,” Maria said.

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