PENINSULA: Shallow wells may face problems

SEQUIM — Under a cloudless sky, Mel Williams and his son Gene hunt for water.

Less than a mile away, the Dungeness River flows effortlessly north toward the Strait of Juan de Fuca. To the south, thinning snows cover the peaks of the Olympic Mountains.

But the water the Williamses are searching for lies 140 feet below.

From a cable attached to a 40-foot, truck-mounted tower, Gene lowers a pipe into the well, preparing the hole to be deepened another 30 feet.

“This is the most severe I can recall,”‘ Mel said, gesturing with his mud-daubed hands.

“But there have been droughts before and there will be droughts again. Luckily, most the people around here can deepen their wells.”

In March, Gov. Gary Locke stood in a dry lake bed and declared a statewide drought emergency, citing the lowest winter precipitation levels in more than two decades.

For the complete story see Sunday’s Peninsula Daily News, on sale in Clallam and Jefferson counties.

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