National and regional trends in water-well drilling in the United States, 1964-84

Open-File Report 87-247



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Information on national and regional water well drilling activity is important for water resource planning and management and for water related equipment marketing. A study was conducted 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% 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% > the total for 1980 (387,000) and 8.5% < 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-yr 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. (Author 's abstract)

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USGS Numbered Series
National and regional trends in water-well drilling in the United States, 1964-84
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Open-File Report
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U.S. Geological Survey,
iv, 25 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.