An organization of groundwater professionals has instituted a loan program for homeowners who need a water-well drilled but lack the funds to pay for that service. Under the program, homeowners can apply for a loan over the phone and receive an answer in seconds, and if approved, the funds will go directly to the contractor.

On May 30, 2024, the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) launched the Water Well Loans Program, which was established to increase access to clean water within U.S. communities by providing “a convenient way for individuals and families to afford the cost of installing a water well.”

Water wells are a crucial resource for many Americans, especially in rural areas where municipal water systems are often unavailable, the NGWA says. Currently, over 13 million U.S. households rely on private wells for their drinking water. Despite this need and due to rising labor and materials costs, a new well can be problematic for some families, with the average cost ranging between $3,500 and $30,000, according to the NGWA.

The Water Well Loans Program connects banks with homeowners who need water wells drilled but lack the funds. The goal is for banks to provide financing to cover the initial costs of drilling and installing new water wells, NGWA’s CEO Terry Morse tells The Driller.

The loan program provides contractors with a phone number that can be provided to potential customers who need a well drilled. Those customers can call the number and can be told within seconds if a loan to drill a well is approved, Morse said. “It’s a tool to help the contractors to help the homeowners,” he said.

The length and specifics of a loan depends on the bank, and which option the customer picks, Morse said. That means if a customer is approved for a loan, that loan does not have to be exclusively for drilling a well, according to Morse. “They might also need some other things done,” he said, and the loan can be used for irrigation and filtration systems, septic systems, and leach bed. The customer “might get approved to get everything done under one loan,” he said. “That's all part of it.”

Benefits of the Water Well Loans Program include:

  • Affordable financing, including providing a convenient and flexible choice of loan options to cover the cost of drilling and installing new water wells.

  • Increased water access by helping rural families access clean, safe drinking water.

  • Health and economic benefits that improve the overall quality of life by providing a reliable water source, which is essential for daily living and agricultural activities.

The Water Well Loans Program is “a tool” that provides contractors with an answer they can provide to a potential customer who asks if the contractor has a payment plan, said Morse, who added contractors are “not a bank.” The program “takes the burden off them (contractors) from having to say ‘no, we don't do payment plans.’”

About 20 contractors have signed up for the loan program, and the NGWA hopes to have 50 contractors signed up by the end of 2024 and 100 contractors signed up by April 2025, Morse said. To help increase contractor use of the program, the NGWA favors committing to the program for two years “to get through a couple of drilling seasons,” thereby enabling “the program (to) become part of their (contractors) normal routine so they will remember to offer it to the homeowners,” he said.

“Our Water Well Loans Program is a critical step in ensuring that more Americans, particularly those in rural areas, have access to safe and healthy water,” said Morse, who adds, “This initiative is about more than just wells; it’s about improving the quality of life and health for countless families.”

By easing the financial burden of these upfront costs, the program ensures that more households can access reliable and safe water sources. This can have a particular impact on rural communities because access to clean water can enhance economic and public health outcomes in those communities, according to the NGWA.

Read the NGWA announcement.