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Measuring Your Own Groundwater Levels

Depth to water

 For the purposes of groundwater monitoring, we record depth-to-water from the reference point. The reference point is the top of the casing, or wherever the water levels are measured from. 

Important Considerations

  • It's important to specify whether your water level reading is taken while the pump is  static or pumping. Static levels reflect general groundwater level conditions. 
  • If multiple measurements are being made throughout time, it is important to mark the reference point so the well is measured from the same place every time. 
  • You need to know the total depth of your well, and the depth of your pump. 
  • Groundwater level data becomes more valuable over time. Measuring every year for many years is important. You can use our groundwater data sheet to track your measurements through time.


Examples of electric tapes from USGS GWPD 4, v 2010.1

Taking a Measurement

The YSGA typically takes groundwater level measurements with an electric tape, pictured on the right.

From the reference point, slowly lower the tape into the well. When the indicator light turns on and the unit beeps, it has hit water. Once you find the exact depth where the tape is contacting the water, hold a finger on the tape at the reference point, and read the depth to water. 

Finally, record the depth-to-water, date of measurement, whether the well is pumping or static, and well information on the data sheet. 

Download the data sheet here:

May contain: plot


blank groundwater monitoring data sheet.pdf







More Information

For more in-depth instructions, USGS publishes their measurement methods in video and PDF format, below:

USGS Protocol for Measuring Water Levels Using an Electric Tape