Living in a city, town, village or hamlet would mean that you usually don't have to give a second thought about where your water is coming from. In this environment, all you would need to know is how to turn your taps on and off.
However, in many sparsely populated areas around the world, each home may require its own individual water supply.
Water would be taken from an independent pumping system with pipework separate from a neighbour's system; therefore each home would have its own well to draw water from.
Each self-reliant home would therefore depend upon its own electromechanical system, to pump the water from the well to the house. The inner workings for these systems are usually concealed as they would be in a populated area.
Strategies for obtaining the water can vary according to the depth of the source. At the heart of each system would be a pump, and the most common types used for wells and boreholes are jet pumps (most commonly used for shallow wells) and submersible pumps (most suitable for wells deeper than 25 feet);
Jet pumps for shallow wells
The most common pump for a shallow well is a jet pump. Jet pumps are mounted above the well, in the home or sometimes a well house, taking the water up from the well using suction.
Atmospheric pressure does most of the work when suction is involved, and so a jet pump is generally more efficient than a submersible pump in a shallow well.
This system could be seen as a long straw. When you suck on a straw, you create a vacuum in the straw above the water.
Once a vacuum is there, the weight of the air (or atmospheric pressure), pushes the water up the straw.
While air pressure varies with elevation, the depth of a jet-pump operated shallow well is commonly limited to about 25ft.
Submersible pumps for deeper wells (usually wells deeper than 25ft)
While a jet pump can generally handle a well hundreds of feet deep, a more effective solution is to move the pump down into the well. In this kind of pumping system, instead of lifting the water, it is being pushed up. This is what a submersible pump does.
Submersibles are known for their reliability and often perform their role for 20 to 25 years without servicing.
They also can be used in shallow wells; however, sand and other contaminants would damage a submersible pump.
A typical submersible pump is characterized by a long cylindrical shape that fits inside a well's casing.
The bottom half is made up of a sealed pump motor that is connected to the power supply.
The half of the unit involved with the actual pumping is made from a stacked series of impellers, each separated by a diffuser that drives the water up the pipe to the plumbing system.
Remember, both jet and submersible pumps are not intended to run continuously, and they don't start each time a tap is opened or a toilet is flushed.
In order to provide consistent water pressure, the pump has to first move water to a storage tank. Inside modern tanks there is an air bladder that becomes compressed as the water is pumped in.
The pressure in one of these tanks is what moves the water through the household plumbing system.