In Drought, Drillers Even Offering Water Witching

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Drought is keeping drillers busy this summer as thousands of old wells dry up and new ones need to be sunk.

Some, like Randy Gebke, of Germantown, Ill., have an unusual tool to help them find water.

Gebke and other well drillers sometimes use the old practice of witching or dousing to find water. Gebke uses wires he says will cross as they near water.

The National Groundwater Association has disavowed witching as "totally without scientific merit."

And scientists such as hydrologist Mark Basch, of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, are skeptical at best. Basch says he knows of no science that would make witching work. Basch also says he can't rule it out.

Gebke says he's seen it work many times, and perhaps more important, customers expect it.

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