California Groundwater Association Says Drilling Contractors Catching Up with Water Well Demand

California drought conditions have placed a high demand on groundwater contractors throughout the state in 2014.

However, according to the California Groundwater Association (CGA), the long waiting periods to get a residential water well drilled and completed have begun to decrease this summer. Contractor members of this association indicated at a recent directors meeting in Valencia, California, they are typically no more than three to six months out on meeting current demand. Many areas of the state have enough qualified contractors to meet demands in even less time.

It should be noted apparent contractor backlogs are exacerbated by several conditions outside their control. In many areas, the county permitting process may take one month or more. This process cannot begin until the contractor receives a signed contract. Additionally, many potential customers will get on waiting lists with multiple contractors with expectations of being served sooner. This makes many waiting lists appear longer, but ultimately results in multiple cancellations, thereby making it much more likely to get a well completed in a much shorter time.

The CGA understands the frustration resulting from long delays but is also warning customers to be sure they are working with licensed drilling contractors who know the region. In times like these, it is not unusual for disreputable or unlicensed drilling contractors to come into a drought-stricken region and offer their services to desperate customers.

Often, the property owner discovers all too late the contractor’s work is inferior and the contractor cannot be relied upon to return if follow-up servicing is necessary. Also, it is illegal in California to require a deposit of more than $1000 or 10% of the job (whichever is smaller). A contract and deposit are common practice in order to submit paperwork for the necessary permitting.