Dowsing for Water

Witching or Seeking Groundwater

Dowsing for water, or witching, is a very old technique for finding water in the ground.

In times like these where the value of water is just being realized, and the fact of its looming shortage, it's important to have a way to successfully seek out groundwater.

Dowsing for Water...


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I too was skeptical that this actually worked – I thought it was just a rural legend.

Old time well drillers would use this same system, sometimes with a willow twig, sometimes a piece of metal, like the ones I tried here.

Always one to test the boundaries and, you never know – it might be true - I made a set of dowsers out of two pieces of wire and tested it. Guess what? It works!

How to make dowsers

To make the dowsers, cut two pieces of wire about 30cm (one foot) long; it can be any kind of wire, but personally, I like copper wire best.

Bend the two pieces into an ‘L’ shape.  The long end should be about eight inches, and the short end long enough to go into the gently closed fist.

How to find water with the dowsers

Dowsing for water with two pieces of wire

Hold the short ends in your loosely clenched fists, and slowly walk along.

You’ll find that if you pass over a puddle, waterline buried in the ground, or an underground stream, the two wires will slowly (or not so slowly) turn to each other and cross.

If they end up aiming back at you, you’ve passed the water source.

Apparently, some people are so sensitive that they can tell how deep the water is, also how much a well will yield. I’m not this sensitive.

You can also see if you can do it with a willow stick. I can’t seem to get this method to work, but you may find it more successful.

Have fun with it this old time practice by testing where you don’t already know of a water source.

Hire a professional witcher

It could be a very useful and mysterious talent to have in times of water shortage, in addition to capturing rainwater. Even Drought Smart Plants need water, so finding other sources than the tap is an important skill.

It’s also an intriguing party trick that actually seems to work.

I’ve asked other skeptics to dowse, without telling them where I’ve witched water, and they find it in the same places.

Of course, I would also get the advice of a geologist or hydrologist to back me up if I was to pay to have a well drilled, just to be on the safe side.




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