9.3 Domestic Wells and Technological Advances

Technological advances have potential to help domestic well owners to test and monitor their wells as well as provide access to real-time data and groundwater knowledge. Such advances include the widespread availability of internet service, cellular networks, smartphones, low-cost water sensors, and Internet-of-Things (IoT) technologies. Approximately 50 percent of the world currently has access to internet service and two-thirds of the world’s population use cell phones, about half of which are smartphones. Researchers are currently working on ways to use smartphones to test for arsenic in well water, either in combination with biosensors that attach to phones (Doyle, 2019) or by using the phone’s camera to analyze the color and concentration of arsenic test strips (Haque et al., 2018). New interactive smartphone apps are also being developed that allow domestic well owners to enter their site-specific water well and property data to carry out a personalized risk assessment for their well (O’Dwyer, 2018; Hoffman et al., 2019). Internet-of-Things devices and low-cost sensors are now being used to monitor real-time groundwater levels in domestic wells (Drage and Kennedy, 2020).

Since smartphones and IoT devices are connected to the internet, they can be linked with online dashboards that allow domestic well owners to share and view real-time data in user-friendly formats. It is also becoming more common for governments to provide online interactive risk maps for groundwater contaminants and online water well record databases, both of which are valuable sources of information for domestic well owners.

In addition to technological advances, social media has great potential to be used for education and outreach to domestic well owners. Groundwater researchers have pointed out that, with over 2.3 billion people using social media worldwide, these networks can allow groundwater information to reach a wide audience, including domestic well owners (Re and Misstear, 2017). It is encouraging that new technologies and communication methods have the potential to democratize groundwater data and knowledge for domestic well owners, who are currently left essentially on their own to manage their water supplies in isolation.


Domestic Wells – Introduction and Overview Copyright © 2022 by John Drage. All Rights Reserved.