Getting Water from an Artesian Well
A view of a traditional artesian well
These are the basic parts of the pumping mechanism of the well.
Mouth of the well. You could drink straight from it without any problems.
Wells such as the one featured in the pictures, called artesian well in the countryside, were common at many towns in Panama decades ago when there was no modern running water systems.
These wells are very simple, yet clever devices. A deep hole is dug until it reaches the aquifer. Then, a set of metal pipes is assemble in order to pump the water to the surface. Even children can pump water with almost no effort and with no danger such as in open-mouthed wells.
The task of getting water from the well had to be performed every day by every family in town, so it was common to locate the well in a public area such as the main square of the town. Because of the many people to visit the wells daily, they often became a place where news and messages where exchanged among the villagers and townspeople.
The water coming from the well was safe to drink due the natural filtering provided by the many layers of rock it had to go through to reach the acuifer. In fact, the writer of this article was able to drink water straight from similar wells in several country towns before they started being obsolete due the spreading of modern running water systems all over Panama' countryside.