Designing a Well: The Puzzle Box

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Your drilling crew’s efforts are vital to the outcome of a good design. 

By Christopher S. Johnson, PG, CHg

Designing a well is often like building a jigsaw puzzle.

The easiest way to complete the puzzle is to keep your eye on the picture on the box top. This is your mental map—your guide to what it should look like. It directs your design decisions as you search for edge pieces, a particular portion of the finished picture, or a unique shape.

For a groundwater professional tasked with designing a well, we often do not have the picture on the top of the box and must instead accumulate a broad understanding of all the pieces to construct our mental “box top.” To that end we need to gather and assess drilling information, geologic and geophysical information, and then assemble a more comprehensive picture. This leads to a better well design.

We will sometimes have local, reliable geologic information obtained from academic or professional reports, well logs from nearby wells, or have some local geologic experience on which to begin assembling our mental image.

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