Artesian Wells

Why is it called an Artesian Well? What does this mean?

By Dan Whalen, PE

The word ‘artesian’ comes from the town of Artois in France, the old Roman city of Artesium, where well known flowing artesian wells were drilled by Carthusian monks in the 12th century.

The definition of artesian (Merriam-Webster) is:

artesian, adjective
ar·​te·​sian | \ (ˈ)är-¦tē-zhən\
Definition of artesian: involving, relating to, or supplied by the upward movement of water under hydrostatic pressure in rocks or unconsolidated material beneath the earth's surface.

But this definition is a little misleading.

The word artesian may bring to mind a well with water spewing out over the top and flowing all over. But only some water wells naturally flow by themselves, and some artesian wells don’t flow at all. Here’s why.

Read More »