Water Well Stories
Water Well Dowsing Serving British Columbia Including
Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands, Thompson-Okanagan,
Cariboo Region, Kootenay Region, Northeast British Columbia, North Coast and Nechako
Certified BC Water Well Driller
As a certified BC well driller I’ve typically been skeptical about water dowsing for a few reasons. One being I consider myself a pragmatic person – if you can’t show me the science behind how it works I’m going to assume it doesn’t, secondly I’ve had some pretty dismal experience working with other dowsers in the past, and thirdly most of the dowsers I’ve met are what I consider a the bit on the eccentric side.
I’ve been working with Colleen Roberts for about a year and a half and have managed to make wells out of at least 95% of the sites she’s dowsed.
You have to remember that Colleen will typically get asked to dowse many properties because it’s in an area typically known for having very little water, or the property owner has already had one or more dry holes drilled on the property.
In the past we would pull up to these difficult properties expecting the worst but hoping for the best. Now we’re drilling very few dry holes compared to our competitors and my only explanation as to why our success rate is so high in areas notorious for having no water (like the Ryder Lake and Sumas Mountain areas) is that we’re setting up on locations that Colleen Roberts has selected for the property owner.
Certified BC Water Well Driller
Veteran Well Driller - Maine USA
I've been drilling for water for 50 years and this just drove me crazy, dowsing works! I'm a Well Driller - Dowser, although not a pro like Colleen, I don't do bad in the business of drilling good wells and finding water. I'm not there to just drill holes. Most well drillers around me hydro-fracture 20 to 40 wells a year. Me only 2 to 3 a year, that's it!
Colleen the famous Canadian water dowser says, "if you drill where the water is you will not need to fracture a well most of the time." She's smart and 100% correct, this is also my opinion after 50 years of water well drilling.
I recently read a magazine article written about Colleen's lifetime of work, they asked her how she feels about fracking, her response was incredible. She said that after almost 30 years of dowsing and contracting she still has no idea what a frack machine looks like, she has never used one and didn't expect to any time in the future. No wonder she turns the industry upside down in Canada
Do your homework everyone, find a reputable water dowser like Colleen before you drill a well, she can save you a fortune!
Veteran Well Driller, Maine, USA
New Water Well in the Cariboo
Marnie N. - Clinton, BC
When drilling a well in Clinton, BC we had a wonderful experience with our water dowser Colleen Roberts.
She drove to Clinton and not only found us plenty of terrific water, but when dowsing for our water well Colleen ensured us that both of our neighbors water wells would not be compromised by our new water well.
She cared for our neighbors as much as she did for us. We were pleased she took time to confirm that our neighbors were safe when we drilled a well on our new property in Clinton as we had never drilled a well before.
If you are drilling a water well we would have no hesitation recommending Colleen and well dowsing service to new customers.
Thank-you Colleen, we appreciate you!
Marnie & Bernie N. Clinton, BC, Canada
From Dry Water Well to Big Water
Living on acreage in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver island and loving gardening is wonderful until you irrigate yourself right out of water and end up with a dry water well in the middle of summer.
Our ten year old water well had given up the ghost and we were at a loss at how to go about finding the best well drilling company in Duncan on Vancouver Island to do the job of drilling us a new water well, we knew that well drilling is costly but we could no londer put it off.
Luckily, our good friends had just had some water well work done by Colleen Roberts and were extremely pleased with the job and service.
They gave us Colleen’s name as the contact person who turned out to also be the owner of the well drilling company, Colleen we learned is a famous groundwater expert who has operated on Vancouver Island and the Fraser Valley for many years.
It was a Saturday afternoon and I just called to leave a message thinking no one would respond until Monday. Within two hours Colleen was on the other end of the line extremely concerned that we were in trouble with no water.
I explained we had just had a truck deliver water and were alright for the time being. Nothing would do, she said would be over Sunday night around 8:30pm.
After having a brief conversation about the property and our old dry well she immediately began dowsing to find us a new source of water so we could drill a water well as it was hot and our gardens were drying out fast.
Approximately one hour later Colleen was ready to pound in her famous stake into the ground to mark the exact spot that the well drillers would put their drill bit to drill a well.
By Monday morning at 10:30 am the water well drilling rig was on our Cowichan Valley property and ready to drill with Colleen on-site to make sure the point of the drill was exactly where she wanted it, she has no tolerance for errors or well drilling games.
By late Monday afternoon the drillers were down about 200 feet with no sign of water so the drillers packed it in for the day. The next morning the well drillers wanted to hydro-fracture the well but Colleen said, "absolutely not, you're not fracking anything, we don't frack my holes", she does not back down and knows how to manage her water well drillers, what she says is the way it’s going to go.
She does not like hydro-fracturing and says it's a waste of money and not required when you drill where the water is, she gives you that big smile and says, "what part of that is confusing?"
We have since learned that many water wells on Vancouver Island are not only drilled dry but often hydro-fractured costing an additional three thousand dollars or more.
Colleen is incredibly protective of her clients who like us know very little about water well drilling, we had no idea. She's also a remarkably confident woman who knows the entire water and drilling industry extremely well, she has drilled thousands of wells we gathered.
We were also hoping for at least some water for our dry land but must admit we were so nervous but not Colleen, she just knows and never wavers, always smiling and keeping us calm.
Finally, Tuesday around mid-morning, all of a sudden there was a huge gush of water.
We had hit the jackpot!! We could not believe that we had 30-gallons-per-minute of beautiful, clear, odor free water almost right outside out front door! This was an incredible day for my husband Jim and I.
Not only did Colleen find us water, she has become a treasured friend who cares so much about people, I would say she is the most kind and selfless person I have ever met.
Her follow-up was superb even six years later she is still an extremely dedicated groundwater expert who always goes the extra mile for people to make sure they have the best quality water possible.
We just love Colleen and feel really blessed to have met her. Thank-you Colleen for everything you have done for us over the years.
Jim and Laura
Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island
Incredible Dowsing Experience with Colleen Roberts
Donna P. - Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island
We own and operate a large farm on Vancouver Island and have drilled a lot of dry wells over the years and then we discovered Colleen Roberts, an experience we never forget.
We were very skeptical of drilling so close to a 300' almost dry well that was not even producing 1/2 gallon-per-minute as was the well drilling contractor we had hired to come and try to drill us another well, in fact the driller practically refused to drill on Colleen's trademark pin that she had set in the ground a just couple days prior.
Yet, Colleen was adamant that we drill exactly where she placed a stake which was less than 11 feet from the non-producing almost dry well on our property!
If Colleen feels there's water she's not bothered by drilling next to a dry well, she said, "just because a well driller drills a dry hole, it has absolutely nothing to do with whether there's water or not, it only means the driller did not know where to drill and he missed it and blew off a bunch of your hard earned money!" Imagine trying to get your head around that one after wasting as much money on the farm as we have drilling dry holes over the years.
Colleen looked at the entire situation in complete amazement, she is disturbed by the craziness of dry-well drilling she said. She's the first to say that nothing is 100% including well dowsing, "but you really need to apply some common sense at some point," she said.
Let me tell you the story, my husband had intentionally covered our 300" dry well with plywood before Colleen arrived on our property, she didn't know it was there and he really wanted to test her as we could not afford to waste anymore money and did not know who to trust. Once she put her stake down and pounded it into the ground, my husband boldly walked over within just a few feet from her stake and removed the board hiding the dry well!
My husband who was already VERY skeptical just stood there quite amused with himself, arms crossed and intently looking at her, then he looked towards our dry well and then looked over at her stake just a few feet away, I could see he was thinking she had lost her mind!
My husband is a big man and can be a little intimidating and I sensed a show-down on it's way. Colleen's quite a small woman compared to my husband and she looked up at him, square-in-the-eye and said, "when was the last time your took your wife on a holiday?"
She carried on... "well it's up to you," she quipped, "you can either give your money to the drillers who will be more than happy to take it from you and maybe drill you another dry hole or you can take your wife on an obviously well deserved holiday, maybe two of them with what I'm about to save you!" Either way she said, "you're paying me for my professional opinion so I advise you to take it or would you rather drill another dry hole?"
It was very clear who the winner of that show-down was! My husband barely ate his dinner that night, she hit him right between the eyes and we both knew it.
But, by Monday morning we had an even bigger problem on our hands because, the well driller completely flipped-out when he arrived on our farm with his well drilling rig and saw the situation about to unfold in front of him.
He told us to not to drill where Colleen had placed the stake as, "he did not think" there was any water to be found where she had claimed, in his opinion it was far to close to the almost dry well that he had already drilled just a week prior.
Once again, we had to get Colleen on the phone as we just didn't know what to do at this point. We were feeling very stressed and confused. Instantly I heard Colleen's calm voice on the speaker and she quickly responded to the well driller as he informed her with authority that "he did not think" there was any water where she wanted to drill and wanted to know what the heck she was doing?
Colleen instantly reminded the well driller that fortunately the client (us), he was not being paid to think, he was being paid to drill the damn well! She told him to let her do the thinking and she would let him do the drilling.
She promised him that everything would work out much better that way, she was very clear with him and we watched him quickly back-down, he would not go against her. She may be small but, tough as hell with these guys, she doesn't flinch.
She then told him, "get to work and slow the drill down at 65 feet." She advised the well driller to take it slow and be careful or he might drill past the water as she was not going to give him the luxury of taking this hole to 300' like the last one he did, "not on my watch", she said!
We Stood There Speechless
The well driller really was not happy and she had him in a corner, Colleen then told him that plan "B" would also work for her, he could remove his well drilling rig from our property and she would gladly bring another drilling rig in. That was the end of the power struggle, he moved the rig centering over her stake without another word, we watched him and he knew to perfectly line-up over the stake she had placed in the ground.
Colleen said, "it's like drilling on a dime." She expects complete honesty on her sites, she told us to get a chair and stay on site because this was not going to take long, we did and were really glad we stuck around.
This woman is incredibly fearless and she will not be pushed around by well drillers or husbands! I have no idea how she controls this male dominated well drilling industry in British Columbia, but she's famous for her abilities. We could see that she runs the drilling show completely, it's just the way it is and the drillers know it. She says many drillers are not good enough to work for her and she will not let them drill her sites.
Although the odds, we felt were still very poor, my husband finally decided to follow Colleen's professional opinion. It was best as we felt a deep trust for her, she fights so hard to protect you and she was right, we paid for her water well drilling advice and she was worth every penny and much more! She was just so damn confident, she cares and really knows her business like no one we've ever met, incredible dedication.
We've also drilled and looked for water for over a couple of generations on our large Qualicum Beach farm with very little luck at all, we really thought we just owned dry land. I think that's why it was so hard for us to believe yet, allow Colleen to instruct us to drill right next to an existing dry hole already drilled to 300', my husband is a smart man and this whole concept just did not add up for him at the time. We always had just trusted drillers, it's all we knew and it was the biggest mistake we had made. Without water on a farm you don't have much.
So here's what finally happened, we only had to drill 70-feet and found our new well yielding incredible water at 12 gallons-per-minute, this was not for irrigation just one of the houses. She told the driller to slow down at 67-feet, how did she know?
We were beyond shocked and the our well driller was VERY quiet - I mean VERY quiet. Colleen Roberts is an amazing and very gifted woman.
She has since drilled another great well on our farm and she even got 80 gallons-per-minute for our neighbors who also had next to no water on their acreage for years, we love her and so do hundreds of families on Vancouver Island and I'm sure elsewhere, she's always on a plane somewhere it seems.
A drilling rig will never enter our farm without Colleen Roberts, don't ever drill without this woman!
Qualicum, Beach , BC
Throwing Good Money After Bad
Lorilie - Texas
We were just so excited making a new beginning in a new home, nothing fancy but it was going to be our home! We got our family all moved in and set-up, living happily ever after - so we thought.
The home had a drilled water well, it wasn't a deep well and not the greatest water but we were told it was just a little high in iron and could easily be be filtered before we bought the house. Well, the water filter for iron worked good for a short time like a week or so then the water was smelling strong of iron and everything was going a reddish color so we called a water filter guy out.
The filter guy said the water well on our property was not good anymore and it was now dry. What did that mean, the well was dry? We didn't know but our family and home have no water.
We called the people that drilled the well they said the pump has probably stopped and will be plugged-up with iron as they knew our property but they could clean it, so they did. That was a pretty big job and in the end it didn't work, our well is no good, so much money wasted.
So now we have our home and no water. We are using water from our neighbors well and it's not good water either it's, very high in iron but usable with filters. But what do we do eventually? Our house needs its own water source and the neighbor wants to sell so we cannot keep taking his water. We've learned that the only good water here from a drilled well is like 800 ft down and will cost like $25,000.00. We just don't have that kind of money! Then we need to spend another $10,000.00 for a well pump system for a very deep water well.
We are in central Texas and still don't know what we are going to do just hoping for a miracle I guess. Wish we found Colleen's real estate and water well website much sooner. We are a young family with 4 kids and feel afraid and feeling very betrayed.
Thank you Colleen for responding to our email and calling us to try and help. We could not believe you took time to call our house in Texas from Canada, you're a very kind person and I hope that what you do can help others even though we found you to late to help our own family.
If you are buying a house with a well all I can say if you do not have lots of money to fix water well problems is to call Colleen for advice before you sign contracts she knows real estate law too and took the time to read all our contracts as we cannot afford a lawyer.
Our family would not be in this bad problem if we did not trust what others told us, because we can't even afford a lawyer now and the real estate agent would not return even one call from us to ask for advice even though he was standing beside us when the owner selling this house said the water well was very good except for iron. It was all a lie and we may have to walk away from the dream of owning our own house.
My husband works very hard long hours and we saved for a long time to make a better future for our family. Had we found Colleen sooner we would not be in this terrible situation. If you are buying a house with a well like us get advice and do not take advice of the agent as we did.
Lorilie - Texas
Drilled Water Well From Hell
Warren & Diane (Ontario, Canada)
The following is a description of our Water Well from Hell water well drilling experience on our property in Eastern Ontario. I post it here because, in the middle of the stress and anxiety of it, we had occasion to speak with Colleen who so willingly answered our many questions and put a lot of it in perspective for us!
I wish we had found Colleen Roberts much earlier. If I had to do it again, God forbid, I would be calling Colleen first, I would never EVER drill a well without her complete guidance!
We agonized over the issue of water for two years before we finally decided to have a water well drilled. Water is a big issue when it comes to life beyond the grid. We take water for granted but we also take water infrastructure for granted.
One way of looking at adopting to life beyond the grid is that you have to basically become your own municipal utility, including your own waterworks department.
You need to decide where your water is going to come from, how to move it from one place to another, how to make sure it is potable, all the things a municipal utility normally does for you and that we take for granted when we turn on our taps. When you become your own water utility, you no longer take these things for granted!
Here's Why We Call It Our Water Well from Hell!
First of all, we did sign a water well drilling contract. This was enough to scare us off the whole idea for over a year during which we looked at every other alternative we might have. We could have taken water from the small lake at the back of the property, and that seemed like a no-brainer at the time, but the devil is in the details and you can double that when it comes to waterworks.
To draw water from the lake meant putting a pump in the lake to pump water up 100-feet from the lake and 500-feet in total to get it to our cottage.
Relying on solar power for pumping water, we were limited in the kind of pump we could use. We needed a slow start pump.
OK, we found one of those but now how to get power to it? Do we run 500-feet of electric wire from the cottage or use a DC pump with a solar panel and battery installed down at the lake? And what about winter? How do you keep the line from freezing when the temperature drops? We solved that one as well.
We traveled to Mississauga to speak with a gentleman at Cottage Water Systems who has developed a water system using valves and a pressure tank to drain the water back to the lake below the surface where it could freeze.
The guy at Cottage Water Systems knows his stuff and he was very straight with us by giving us enough information about how it would all work and the costs associated for us to determine that, in our case, drilling a well would not be appreciably more costly.
If we were a bit closer to the lake or if the head distance was not so great, his system would have been ideal for us and I would recommend it for those applications. Unfortunately, it was too costly in our case so we opted, finally, to drill a water well.
We Finally Decide to Drill a Well
The only thing remotely close to an appointment to have a water well drilled is to have an appointment with the dentist. Like a visit to the dentist, you are having a hole drilled.
In both cases you approach the day with great anxiety. In both cases the more drilling that happens the more of a hole it leaves in your bank account. In both cases there is pain involved!
Drilling a water well was a horrendous experience for us, here's our story.
Watching helplessly as a water well driller goes deeper and deeper into the ground and deeper and deeper into your savings is an excruciating experience. One hundred feet goes by, then two hundred feet… still no water! You think… OK, any minute now they must hit water, but they don’t.
300' and still dry, no water and then they quit for the day leaving that hulking monster of a wallet sucking well drilling machine crouched on the front yard. By the end of the day our nerves are shattered and our tempers shortened.
It feels like we are in some kind of suspended animation from which we can be released only by the sight of water.
At the end of the second day, we are the proud owners of a $16,000.00 dry well drilled to over 400' into the bedrock. We decide to stop the well drilling insanity.
The well drilling guys did feel a little bad and we felt sick, almost violated. So this is what worse the case scenario feels like!
So... What Did We Learn?
#1. First of all Water Well from Hell drilling does not happen to everyone. But some worn-out phrases you’ve heard before suddenly became very meaningful: read the fine print of the well drilling contract as the estimate we took did not mean what it said! Colleen should have read our well drilling contract first. I don’t know if it would have made any difference but it would have provided the opportunity to ask more informed questions.
#2. Drill a well as a last resort, I know that often there just isn't another choice for most people. Finally, at the end of the day, the cost of drilling a well for us was more than the pumping and filtering water from the lake would have cost and we still don’t have water!
You know... you've heard of a bird in the hand?
#3. Find the very best professional water dowser possible, it's the very first thing we should have done. Long before speaking with a well drilling contractor we really needed to speak with Colleen first. We found Colleen Roberts nearly after the fact and she was a wealth of information about water sourcing and well drilling.
Whether you believe in the art of dowsing or not, please contact Colleen before you drill a well. The cost is nothing compared to drilling a dry well and the stress we endured.
Colleen is located in another part of the country, the Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island, the woman is a godsend and she did everything in her power to help us from a distance, she is so knowledgeable and definately not intimidated by well drillers. The well drillers were singing a different tune by the time she was done with them by phone!
She knows the so called well drilling game inside and out, we would have gladly have paid to fly her to Ontario from British Columbia, we have since learned that Colleen Roberts is one of the best water well dowser in North America and people seek her services from all over the world. British Columbia is very lucky to have her drilling water wells.
It was an experience just to speak with her, not what you would expect, Colleen is very soft spoken woman with the voice of an angel and an incredible passion for her work. There is no wonder she has such a reputation and she completely refused to take any payment from us at all for her time, she only asked that we pay it forward by helping others in some way.
#4. Analyze the well drilling cost contract carefully, understand each well drilling item as they are presented. Understand the cost of drilling a well was something we needed to spend more time on. Our well drilling costs were $23.00 per foot but there are other additional costs such as for casing at $15.00 per foot and more. We took the lowest bid and it felt like it somehow was not what we thought, there is to much to understand for people like us who had never drilled a well before.
We only had 20 feet of casing in our well because the drill was into bedrock immediately but, if you are sitting on a mile of gravel, the casing will have to extend the depth of the well almost doubling the cost of drilling the well.
Colleen says there's not really an average well drilling cost in the Fraser Valley or Vancouver Island where she mostly drills for water, I understand that the cost of drill a well really varies and that well drilling estimates can be made to look the lowest when they really are not.
It's important to get a very clear itemized well drilling quote and have someone who knows this business look at it!
#5. We don’t have any neighbors anywhere near us but, if you do, ask around to see how deep their wells are. Colleen had many suggestions about this including researching your local wells database for comparable information.
#6. If your well goes to a certain depth without hitting water, you may be able to get some concessions from the driller from drilling a dry hole. Ours well drillers drilled the last 100 feet at his cost if he didn't hit water.
#7. A last resort awaits those of us who come up dry. It is called fracturing or hydro-fracturing which amounts to introducing water under high pressure into the well to open up any fractures that exist in the rock to allow more water to enter the well.
Things to know about hydro-fracturing is there are two kinds: single and double bladder. We had single bladder fracturing done to no avail.
Colleen said, “If you drill where the water is there's generally no need for fracturing! In fact she does not like it and never had a need for hydro fracturing water wells, can you imagine - she has dowsed and supervised well drilling sites for more than 30 years and does not fracture wells!
In fact, Colleen told me she does not even know what a hydro-fracturing machine looks like! I was completely dumbfounded by her statement, how was this possible? It seems to just be another ad-on to the cost of drilling a well, except it’s added when you are feeling the most confused and just don't know what to do!
With single bladder the water well drillers try to pressurize the whole well. With double-bladder they can isolate sections of the well and apply much more pressure. The catch of course is that double-bladder fracturing is more expensive, around $3200. where we live, but it has a good success rate, so we were told.
In fact, the well drillers will normally guarantee a certain amount of water in gallons-per-minute and deduct 50% if unsuccessful. Beware of ‘frackers’ who ask for their money up front, however.
They may require that you prove they didn’t produce the flow rate they guaranteed and you will have to chase them to get your money back if they are unsuccessful.
(Just read that some states are thinking about banning fracturing due to the possibility of damage to aquifers or allowing pollutants into wells. Just something else to consider here)
#8. After this experience and cost of drilling a dry water well we were left with big ruts in our yard, but that was the very least of this water well drilling nightmare “Water Well from Hell” experience!
Finally, our well from hell update. At the time of writing we actually have a very small flow of water into the well at about 4 gallons/hour, that right per hour!
This is about a whopping 100 gallons/day which is technically a dry well but it really sounds like Niagara to us so we'll take it!
Warren & Diane (Ontario, Canada)