Franklin In The Field: Ten Things I Wish the Public Knew - #1-5

02/08/2016

A true story told by Mark Reeder, Director of Innovation & Field Marketing…

“In my job, I do a lot of airline travel. Although I’m generally a limited talker with whomever ends up next to me, I often get the question, ’So, what business are you in?’ From these and other random encounters with the general public, I’ve built up a sizable database of its perceptions of water wells and the groundwater industry.
What follows isn’t a revelation by any means, but I’m continually amazed at how little the general public knows about groundwater and the groundwater industry. Even end-users such as homeowners and farmers who have their own private water systems generally have little knowledge of how water gets to their tap. Given this, here’s a short series around the ten things I wish the public knew about our industry in hopes that it may help you better communicate with your customers. You’ll find the first five below, with the rest to follow in a subsequent post.Mark Reeder

1. Chances are, your water comes from a well, even if you don’t know it.
I consistently hear: “I’m on city water; I don’t get my water from a well.” Actually, there’s a good chance you do. For example, I live in a good-sized city with several water sources, including a river and a couple of reservoirs. However, my city also has numerous large water wells, and a significant amount of our water is supplied from those wells.

2. Groundwater is important. So important, in fact, that we literally can’t live without it.
The general public has little appreciation of groundwater’s importance. Only 2.5% of the world’s water is freshwater and of that, 69% of that is locked up as ice at earth’s poles. What’s left is surface water and groundwater. Between the two, surface water comprises only 0.4% and the rest is groundwater. That’s not nearly enough surface water to supply the needs to humankind. Not only does much of our clean, fresh drinking water come from the ground, we have to have it to survive as a civilization.

3. Groundwater contractors are experts with unique professional knowledge.
Not only do groundwater contractors have to be good business people, they must also have very specialized technical expertise. Drilling contractors, for example, often maintain more than a million dollars worth of equipment, with more bells, whistles, levers, and buttons than most people can imagine. They have to understand geology and hydrology. Pump installers must have an outstanding working knowledge of electricity and hydraulics, and more often than not, electronic technology as well. Not everyone can do this job.

4. Groundwater expertise is different than plumbing expertise.
Not all groundwater contractors are plumbers, and not all plumbers are groundwater contractors. In fact, although some water well contractors and drillers provide plumbing services as part of their business, most of the time they don’t overlap. The groundwater industry requires a distinct knowledge base and skill set, and even different equipment. Think of it this way: someone who works on melting furnaces in foundries is not the same person who would work on the furnace in your home, and vice versa. Some of the underlying science and mechanics might be similar, but these are really two different jobs requiring distinct expertise.

5. We work under tight regulatory constraints.
Groundwater is a precious resource and, appropriately, obtaining a license to access and drill into it is a formidable task. In addition, nearly all states require water well contractors to receive a certain number of hours of continuing education each year in order to maintain that license. Of course, given the size and complexity of a drilling rig, there’s a significant safety and driver training component as well. We don’t just punch holes in the ground; we have to be well-trained and ensure regulatory compliance.”