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Well drilling for water under artesian pressure

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A well is created by boring, driving, digging or drilling in the ground to reach water within underground aquifers.

What is an aquifer?
An aquifer is a layer of soft rock, for example, limestone and sandstone, which is capable of holding and diffusing large quantities of water. This layer of permeable rock which absorbs the water from an inlet path at a higher elevation, e.g. a mountain top, is trapped between layers of impermeable clay or rocks.

What is an artesian aquifer?
An artesian aquifer is an aquifer which holds groundwater that is under pressure. Water confined in this manner is said to be under artesian pressure.

What is an artesian well?
An artesian well enables water that which has traveled through porous rock from a higher elevation to rise to the surface. The water pressure in the aquifer is high and when the water is able to locate an outlet, this well, which does not require a pump, seems to defy the laws of gravity as the water travels upwards.
The pressure within the aquifer is maintained, or recharged, as a result of the water table being at a higher elevation than the head of the well.

Origin of the word “artesian well”
The word artesian comes from the “wells of Artois”, a town in France, where the best known flowing artesian wells were first drilled using primitive well drilling supplies and techniques in the 1830s.

Where are artesian wells dug?
The geologic conditions necessary for an artesian well are an inclined aquifer that is sandwiched between impermeable rock layers above and below that trap water in it. Water enters the exposed edge of the aquifer at a high elevation and percolates downward through interrelated porous spaces.

Artesian wells are located all over the world. Inland Australia is supplied with fresh drinking water by the Great Artesian Basin, the largest basin of this type in the world. Thousands of artesian wells have been drilled into this aquifer.

Well drilling supplies and techniques have progressed from the early days of hammers and bores, to extremely sophisticated machinery that is used today.
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