How to Use Dowsing Rods to Find Water Depth

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For (literally) thousands of years human beings have been on the hunt for efficient and accurate ways to find water buried under the ground.

dowsing hobby

And while today we are lucky enough to take advantage of incredibly advanced modern technology that lets us find water (sometimes from what feels like miles away), our ancient ancestors didn’t have ground penetrating radar or anything similar.

No, those ancient ancestors took advantage of dowsing rods (sometimes called divining rods) to track water buried beneath the surface of the ground.

But do dowsing rods really work?

Is this pseudoscience?

Are people still using dowsing rods to find water today?

Let’s dig a little deeper into all that (and more) right now!

Learn more about starting dowsing as a new hobby here: Complete Guide to Dowsing

Dowsing Rods – Fact or Fiction?

Today’s modern scientific community is pretty split on whether or not dowsing rods really work, with some feeling like this is nothing more than witchcraft or pseudoscience.

Those kinds of folks argue that anyone that finds water with dowsing rods are getting lucky more than anything else.

On the other hand, though, studies conducted by scientists all over the world – most recently in Germany during the late 1990s – have pretty conclusively deduced that there is definitely something to the effectiveness of dowsing rods. ( Affiliate link)

l shaped divining rods

That German study was conducted over a ten-year block of time, with researchers, geologists, and dowsers hunting for water in Sri Lanka, Kenya, Yemen, and other incredibly dry and arid regions around the world.

The results came back heavily in favor of the accuracy of dowsers, with more than 691 wells drilled in Sri Lanka alone in locations spotted by dowsers – with 96% of those wells finding a tremendous amount of water beneath the surface of the earth!

It’s hard to argue against repeatable results like that.

Dowsing Rod 101

If you are going to dive headfirst into the world of dowsing yourself, though, you’re going to want to make sure that you immerse yourself in a little bit of the history and the fundamentals of this skill.

The American Society of Dowsers claim that people have been divining the location of water for thousands of years, with 8000+-year-old cave paintings found in the caves of northern Africa showing a man holding a forked stick on the hunt for water itself!

Egyptian pharaohs had artwork with divining/dowsing rods prominently displayed throughout their palaces, as did the ancient Chinese and Japanese. This is a skill that has been used all over the world throughout history, and its continued to be used today as well.

How to Dowse for Water

Learning how to dowse for water is a relatively simple and straightforward process once you get the hang of some basics.

Let’s run through those right now!

Pick a Good Dowsing Rod

To kick things off, you’re going to need to get your hands on a good, reliable dowsing rod – and that might be a different dowsing rod for different kinds of people.

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Some folks like to use the traditional forked stick cut from softwood as long as it is true and straight with two individual forks that can be handled during the dowsing process.

Other folks like to use bent pieces of copper or steel wire, long enough to direct them to the water they are divining but generally thin enough to be easily transported anywhere that a hunt for water needs to be conducted.

At the end of the day, it’s probably not a bad idea for you to try out a couple of different dowsing rods until you get really comfortable with one that produces results.

Hold the Rod an Arm’s Length Away

The next piece of the puzzle is making sure that you are holding your divining rod or rods correctly, and that means giving your elbows in at your side but making sure that the rods are still being held as far from your body as your arms allow.

You need to have a decent grip on the handles of your dowsing rod but not to the point where you are “choking” it, either. It shouldn’t be easy for someone to slap the dowsing rods out of your hand, but you don’t need to white knuckle your grip.

Make sure that if your holding individual rods they are pointed in the right direction and are not overlapping (do not have the ability to overlap or crisscross one another).

Keep the Rod Steady While You Walk

Now you need to make sure that you are keeping your dowsing rod in a steady, upright, level position as you slowly walk around the area that you are hunting for water in.

You want these rods to fall flat across your index fingers and allow the butt end of the handles to gently rest inside the heel portion of your hands. The dowsing rod needs to have a little bit of flexibility to move and bend, pointing you towards the water you’re looking for.

Move Slowly to Triangulate the Location of Water

Finally, you want to move very deliberately throughout an area until you start to get some action on your dowsing rod.

As soon as that happens you’ll want to change direction (90° in one way or another) so that you can begin to triangulate exactly where that water is.

The pull that you feel on a dowsing rod will be something immediately noticeable as soon you get on top of your water source.

Mark the ground, start to dig or drill, and get ready for some surprised faces when water comes pouring out!