Rural Property in the Arid West: Water Quality
Rural property owners in the arid west often face water quality issues. The rock strata holding our ground water often results in saline and alkaline water. If you are a rural property owner with a private well, you should regularly test your water. If you are considering purchasing a property with a private well, always get your own water testing done at a professional lab before you purchase. The water samples have to be taken correctly, handled correctly, and analyzed correctly to yield reliable results.
It is easier to educate yourself on water quality standards for humans than for livestock or irrigation purposes. The EPA has standards for potable water, and it is likely your state does too. Finding guidelines for livestock or crops is harder, but I found a dandy online tool today at the Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development website.
The online tool is free and allows you to input the parameters found on your water test and compare it to the known guidelines (or if there is no ‘official’ standard, they will give you a synopsis of the known practical guidelines) for uses such as watering cattle or horses, raising poultry, or irrigating fruit trees.
The Rural Water Quality Information Tool is a way you can get an overall idea of the suitability of a given water source for your intended rural uses.