Information on national and regional water-well drilling activity is important for water-resource planning and management and for water-related equipment marketing. This report describes a study to analyze drilling trends on the basis of data for selected years from 1964 through 1984. The study focused primarily on the years 1964 and 1980-84 but also included data from 1960.
Approximately 397,000 water wells were drilled in the United States in 1984. Seven States, Florida, Texas, New York, Michigan, North Carolina, Virginia, and Ohio, accounted for 39 percent of all the wells drilled in the United States in 1984. Florida led the Nation in drilling activity with 45,600 new wells. The 1984 national drilling total was 2.6 percent greater than the total for 1980 (387,000) and 8.5 percent less than the total for 1964 (434,000). However, these moderate differences do not reflect substantial year-to-year fluctuations that may have occurred during that 20-year period.
Qualitative comparisons suggest that drilling activity for a given year is closely related to the number of housing starts for that year. If so, there may have been peaks in drilling activity in 1972 and 1977-78 (corresponding to peaks in housing starts) that are not identified in this study because of a lack of available well-drilling data for those years. Well-drilling data for 1964 and the 1980-84 period probably represent a low to moderate level of drilling activity and, if compared to earlier data, suggest that there has been no substantial growth or decline in the water-well industry as a whole since the 1940's.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
National and regional trends in water-well drilling in the United States, 1964-84