Real Estate Boom and New Water Wells in the Southwest

The demand for new homes turns into purchases of vacant land for building and that calls for a new water well.

By Gary L. Hix, RG, CWD/PI

High taxes and rising crime rates may be driving people to move from the Northeast to Florida, but on the West Coast a slightly different dynamic may be at work.

It has been reported that people are leaving California for states with lower tax rates and more personal freedom. Others are simply moving out of the big cities for the rural areas of California. Whatever their reason, it’s spurring a real estate boom in residential home sales in California’s rural regions with the demand spilling over to neighboring states too.

Getting away from the sounds, stress, and strains of big-city living is causing some people to look to purchasing in rural areas not served by public water supplies. Therefore, they must turn to private water wells. Some of the demand for new homes has led to purchases of vacant land for building, which will call for new water wells.

According to my sister-in-law who is a realtor, homes put on the market for sale in Arizona often are not there for more than a day or two. It’s a booming seller’s market for homes in Arizona as well as Utah and Nevada. One contractor I spoke to in southern Arizona said he had a backlog of 22 wells to drill.

Some parts of the West are experiencing a shortage of water well drillers to serve the rising demand due to the vastness of the territory and distances between major cities.

The distances are so great that a domestic water well driller or pump installer cannot mobilize his men and equipment for just a single domestic water well. They often must wait until they have several domestic wells to be drilled in close proximity because the income from a number of wells is what justifies the expense of the mobilization.

The current real estate boom may be encouraging many contractors to expand their business to meet the demand for new water wells, but if that expansion includes purchasing new equipment, the challenge for them will be to do enough work to pay off the purchase price of the new rig before the boom fades.

Gary L. Hix, RG, CWD/PI, is past president of the Arizona Water Well Association and a former licensed water well contractor in Arizona. He has authored many articles on subjects related to well drilling issues for Water Well Journal and served as the 2019 McEllhiney Lecturer. He can be reached at