Rachel Schattman helps pilot affordable well design for farms

Potato fieldNew England’s droughts in 2016, 2020 and 2022 offer a preview of farming amid a changing climate. This has caused farmers who rely on rainfall to seek more reliable water sources.

Rachel Schattman, assistant professor of sustainable agriculture at the University of Maine, is leading the study of a novel shallow well design that is 50% to 75% cheaper to dig than drilled wells.

Collaborators on the project include Joe Ayotte, who developed the well’s design, and Marcel Belaval, both of the U.S. Geological Survey’s New England Water Science Center, as well as the USDA Northeast Climate Hub.

The novel shallow wells are dug into glacial till, which is common throughout the Northeast. They offer lower operating costs than current alternatives. The team hopes to dig the wells across the region to test their ability to provide supplemental water to farms.

“If successful, this novel design will provide smaller farms and livestock operations an affordable water source that they can count on. Many wild blueberry farms would benefit from using  irrigation, across all scales of operation.” Schattman says.

Farmers interested in digging a shallow well and sharing data should contact Schattman at rachel.schattman@maine.edu.

Read more at UMaine News