How to Dig A Hand Pump Well Yourself [The Right Way 2023]

Are you tired of relying on a municipal water supply or paying for expensive bottled water? Learn how to take control of your water source learning how to dig a hand pump well yourself! With the right tools and a bit of elbow grease, you can easily access clean, fresh water right from your own backyard.

In this article, I will cover every single detail on how to build a well yourself, including is legal to dig your own well, how to know where to dig a well, how to find water for a well, the best well-digging kits, and how to dig a well yourself.

Well digging should be a top priority for you when it comes to an SHFT scenario or worst.

However, you should, of course, consider stockpiling a couple of weeks of water as well.

In a disaster or collapse, having your own sustainable water supply is crucial because a few weeks probably won’t be enough.

One of the best ways to have a sustainable water supply is to build a well! Building a well will take time and effort, but trust me. It will all be worth it. Building a well will ensure your family and you have fresh, clean water in the long term.

Before we dive into this article, why should you trust me? I have personally built over four wells in my lifetime, and I know everything you need to know about well digging.

Let’s dig in.

Making sure that what your legal is doing is always a good first step, so can you dig your own well?

Like most things, when it comes to legality – it depends on your location. Typically, in rural areas, you can build multiple wells without any conflict with the law.

However, in city areas, it may vary. In most cases, wells are allowed in cities, but you must consult your local building department to check any regulations you must follow.

Some regulations may be digging under a certain amount of feet, only allowing professional contractors to dig a well, in worries that you may hit a pipeline with municipal water in city areas, and many more. So, I highly recommend you talk with your local buildings department.

You may also be required to have a permit, depending on your state. However, at that point, I would hire a professional to dig your well for you.

How to Know Where to Dig Your Well For Water

How to know where to dig your well

Next up is knowing exactly where to dig your well for maximum ground water supply and minimum work.

When considering where to dig your well, things to consider are how close you want your well to be to your house and how expensive each location may be for drilling.

It doesn’t matter where you dig your well in several countries because you often end up with positive results.

For example, If your geology is porous stone or sand, you shouldn’t have a problem. However, if your geology is rock, it will be slightly more complicated, as in most of the US.

First off, if you want the cleanest water, you will most likely have to dig more than 30 feet because bacteria and viral infections can travel up to 30 feet underground from the anal sewer systems.

You also have to consider where your digging and how much time you wish to spend digging.

If you want to spend less time digging, look for partially buried boulders because that is a sign of subterraneous rocks, which will slow your digging down dramatically. 

You should definitely do your research when doing this. A great place to start is USGC. They publish data on groundwater and geography, which should help you understand where to dig a well more.

You can probably also find more information because many states also have information about groundwater availability.

I have no idea about your situation, but I advise you to look carefully through your circumstances and decide wisely.

For example, if digging 400 feet away from your house is easier and safer than digging 10 feet from your home, you should probably do the 400 feet if digging 10 feet is uncertain or just too complex.

How to Find Water For a Well

how to find water for a well

When digging a well, you absolutely have to know where to find water to avoid a dry well. The landscape offers some cues on the geological survey. So, first off, if you have a trench or some valley near you, you will have a significantly higher chance of finding water faster.

But, no worries, you will have to work a little harder if you don’t. The presence of plants flourishing around a specific area, especially water-loving plants such as cottonwoods or willows, shows that groundwater is closer to the ground.

However, if you live in a dry flatland area, you will have to work the hardest as a heads-up.

Rocks are also significant indicators of finding where water may be lurking. If you live near gravel, sand, sandstone, or limestone, you are lucky because water is typically right under those.

However, as long as you can find sedimentary rocks, it should be relatively easy for you to find water. If you can find rocks that are cracked or fractured a lot, that is also a great source if you live in an area with a lot of hard rock.

You should also avoid any power or gas line, as that is hazardous to you.

Sometimes when doing this, you won’t find water because there are always exceptional cases. If you don’t find water on the same day, you should move on to another hole.

Best Well Digging Kit

If you plan to dig a well yourself, you will need a well digging kit for the fastest performance. You will need two separate tools to perform the task flawlessly. First, you will need a digger to dig the hole; then, you will need the pumper to extract the water.

You’re in luck because there is one well-digging kit that has both the digging and the water-pumping part for a low price. After all, it is often sold and donated to less fortunate counties. This well-digging kit can easily dig 50 feet. 

This amount of depth is good enough for most wells. Some shallow wells only need 30 feet or so.

This is the DIY Water Well Kit, a cheap well digger and pumper that comes with an auger (shovel) at an affordable price, which is superior to the 5-15 thousand charged by the professionals.

I have personally used this well-digging kit, and it is top-notch quality. I had a few back problems when using this, but that is probably because I have had back problems myself. 

If you can, this is probably a two-man job, just because during the next day, your back will feel really funky.

How to Dig a Hand Pump Well Yourself

Above is a video displaying how the well-digging kit discussed above operates and how to dig your well! With this healthy-digging kit, you should be able to finish in three hours, with a freshwater supply for a lifetime! 

The kit will have the names for everything and give you instructions better than I do. Nevertheless, I will try to explain how to use it.

I will state how to dig a well yourself here as well.

Step 1: Find the place you want to dig. This area should be a place where you can find water, as discussed above.

Step 2: Get your auger and start twisting in circles to establish a shallow hole. Plop your dirt on some mat so your cleanup won’t be too tiring.

Step 3: As you dig deeper, you will have to add your extension pipe. Having a tree or other tall structure to lean it up against is necessary. As you dig deeper, it may get more complex or more accessible.

Step 4: Dig until you hear water splashing in watery sand, and dig about five feet more after hearing the watery sand. You now have a drilled well. 

Step 5: Get your pump piston and connect them accordingly, 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, or green-green, blue-blue, red-red, etc. Screw them together accordingly with a plier.

Step 6: Connect the pump foot valve to the pump piston using the threaded nipple found in your kit. Screw those on.

Step 7: Place the pump piston in the larger well screen. Do that by removing the smaller well screen inside first. Now slide the smaller well screen over the pump piston. Now, slide the pump piston through. Continually connect all the pipes together to reach the bottom of your well.

Step 8: Connect the two well screens using cement, or what I personally use – a lot of super glue. The last section of the pipes has a connector on one end. Ensure the inner pipe sticks up a few inches higher than the outer pipe.

Step 9: Slide the wellhead over the top of the riser pipes. Screw the pump handle on.

Step 10: Put as much sand back into the well. And dig a hole at least two feet in diameter and 6 inches deep around the wellhead. Now, put the plastic provided in the well kit over that hole and secure it with the zip tie provided in the kit. Now, cover it back up.

Step 11: Start pumping for about 5-10 minutes so the water clears up. The water quality should now be A-okay.


You have learned almost everything about digging a well, and you should know how to dig a well yourself now. In this article, we covered is legal to dig your own well, how to know where to dig a well, how to find water for a well, the best well-digging kits, and how to dig a well yourself.

Now, all you need to do is sit back and enjoy your clean water. Note that you should avoid using gardening supplies like pesticides unless you want contamination in your water. You can also mix some chlorine to have chlorinated water and other water treatments to ensure clean water.

Here is another article on my generator to protect you from most blackout situations. Check that out!

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