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Acreage Ownership - Wells

Acreage Property Ownership – Wells


Over the years, I’ve worked with a number of people interested in the Calgary  acreage lifestyle - from equestrian set ups to smaller residential acreage communities – but regardless of the type of property, you’ll more or less find the same components – septic system & field, well(s), cistern etc.  When purchasing an acreage property it’s important to have these systems checked out to be sure they’re in good working order and will meet your current and future needs.    


Unless you’ve had previous acreage experience, there is often a bit of a learning curve on what everything is, how it works and what the differences are. 


It’s not that easy to find information on these components, but I’d come across an informative Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) brochure on acreage ownership and many of my clients have found the information very useful in helping them get a better understanding of what acreage living is all about.   


As the resource is no longer available, I thought I’d share it in a “several-part” series on Acreage Ownership.  Bear in mind that individual properties, municipal districts and provinces have their own specifics particular to the area &/or property so this should only serve as a general guideline.            


The first in the series addresses WATER SUPPLY – Well Type and Design.




There are 3 common types of wells:  Dug, Bored & Drilled.


Dug and bored wells (60 – 120 cm/24 – 48 in. diameter) are commonly used to produce water from shallow surface aquifers (less than 15 m/50 ft. deep); and are prone to contamination from surface water infiltration and to water shortages (see Figure 1). An aquifer is an underground formation of permeable rock or loose material, which can produce useful quantities of water when tapped by a well. Another type of well used in surface aquifers is a sand point well (2.5 – 5 cm/1 – 2 in. diameter), which is a pointed well screen connected to a small diameter pipe driven into water-bearing sand or gravel. 


Figure 1: Dug well  (source CMHC)

Figure 1 Dug Well 

Drilled wells (10 – 20 cm/4 – 8 in. diameter) are commonly used to penetrate deeper aquifers (15 to greater than 60 m/50 to greater than 200 ft. deep), are more costly to construct, but generally provide a safer source of drinking water (see Figure 2).



igure 2: Drilled well  (source CMHC)

Figure 2 Drilled Well

Common features of well systems include:



Casing — structure around the well hole, which keeps it from collapsing. It could be a steel casing, concrete rings or an open hole in the bedrock.


Inlet — allows water to enter the well from the bottom. There might be a screen at the inlet to prevent fine particles from entering the well and a foot-valve (check valve) to maintain the system’s prime and pressure.

Pumping system — includes pump, piping and necessary electrical connections to pump water from the well into the house, and a pressure tank to maintain constant water pressure in the house. Submersible pumps are usually used in drilled wells, while shallow wells usually use centrifugal pumps, which are located out of the well, most likely in the basement or in a pump house.


Surface protection — prevents surface water and contaminants from entering the well. It includes a watertight seal placed around the casing (annular seal), a well cap 0.3 – 0.4 m (12 –16 in.) above the ground, and mounded earth around the top of the well casing to divert rainwater.



Now that we’ve explored how wells are designed and how they function, the next in the series will look at water quality and quantity.


If in the meantime you need more immediate acreage information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.       


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