Dowsing for Water

With the ground beginning to thaw out, drilling a well has been another topic at the top of our homestead to do list.  The big question, though, is how do we know where to drill it?  We've read about several highly scientific methods (a.k.a. it will cost us a fortune) and one not so scientific method known as water dowsing.  Dowsing sounded like such fun (and it's free), so we gave it a try!  Mike met an older man who had downsed for his well, and told us that, basically, this is how it works:  First, you take two lengths of wire.  Hammer the wire straight and bend the end at a 45 degree angle to make a handle.  With your elbows tucked into your body, hold the rods loosely in your hands so they can move freely.  Begin walking and when you find water, the rods will begin to cross on their own.  Mark the spot with a stick, and that's where you drill the well.  It's quite a spectacle to watch this in action, as they will cross and uncross by themselves as you walk across a water source.  It feels like a weak magnetic pull.  Supposedly, it doesn't work for everyone, and this seems to be true.  It worked for all of us, except Mike.  We found water near some of the larger trees, which was to be expected and over many areas around the land.  We also found water in the bird bath!  I read today, that using a fresh willow branch is the most accurate tool to use, so we're going to try different instruments and see if we get different results.  

How accurate is this method?  I have no idea, we'll have to wait and see.  For now, we're having fun experimenting.


  1. From my experience when I was young. It is actually very accurate, especially in the hands of someone who has done it often. It is how they found and placed the well on the land my mother bought to build on. It was wonderful ice cold spring water no less. I wish you luck. And try to find that willow, that is what the older Pennsylvania Dutchman used when he located for my mother.

  2. Oh, thank you Jenn! Now I'm really exited to give the willow a try. :)

  3. You are most welcome. It is amazing how accurate and well a lot of the old ways work if you are willing to give them a try. Not sure if you are planning on a basement at all, but my mother had a 'cold cellar' built in the one back corner that was deepest in the ground. We never stored ice cream or ice there, but it was great for fruits and veggies, sort of like a root cellar. And when it was hot in the summer it was a great place to put a lawn chair and cool off.

    1. I would love to have a root cellar. We're thinking about digging it into the side of our hill. :) I bet it would be nice and cool in the summer heat!

  4. fyi 'dowSing'...VERY cool! Love the kids involved too..:>)