How to Make a Well in Dwarf Fortress

Careful not to drown any dwarven children in it.

by Kenneth Araullo
Image: AOTF

Water is a necessity for all life, and as such you will need to make a well if you want your dwarven civilization to advance in Dwarf Fortress. The complex simulation requires a ton of thought and patience in achieving the simplest tasks, and the same can be applied to something that should be as easy as making a well. That said, if you follow this guide, you’ll have your own well up and running in no time.

Dwarf Fortress – Build a Well

Building a well in Dwarf Fortress requires four resources:

  • A bucket
  • A chain or a rope
  • A block
  • A mechanism

All of these materials are refined, so in order for you to get it you will need to do a bit of work first. Once you have all four, though, it’s smooth sailing from there.

Note: this guide considers that you already know the basics of Dwarf Fortress, and you already have a stockpile of materials like wood. Check out our guide on making a pit here.

Making the Bucket and Block

First things first, we need a bucket. Buckets made of wood can be constructed at the Carpenter’s Workshop. Click the workshop and add a new task.

Image: AOTF

Here, you can use the search bar or scroll down through the options. Find the Make wooden bucket option and click it.

Image: AOTF

The task will now be added to your tasks tab. Wait for it to finish, and you’ll have the first component: the Bucket!

To create a block, simply follow the same steps, picking the wooden block option instead. With this, you now have two out of four components ready!

Related: How to Butcher Animals and Get Meat in Dwarf Fortress

Making a Chain and Mechanism

The next resource you need is either a chain or a rope. Sometimes, your starting caravan will have either of these lying around, so it’s best to check. If you’re lucky enough to have one, you can skip this step entirely! To check if you have a chain or a rope, open the Stocks tab on the center top of the screen.

Image: AOTF

Here, you can check out the resources that your dwarves currently possess. If you do not have a chain or rope on hand, then it’s time to start crafting. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll be going with a chain, which is a lot easier to craft compared to the rope.

To craft an iron chain, head over to the Metalsmith’s Forge. Just like what you did with the bucket in the first step, click the workshop, add a new task, and see the options.

Image: AOTF

Select the furniture options, followed by the iron menu. Technically, you can craft the chain from other materials, but iron is the easiest to craft at the early stages of the game. Make the iron chain, which will lead you back to the tasks tab. Wait for it to finish, and there you have it. That’s three out of four resources done.

The iron mechanism can also be crafted at the Metalsmith’s Forge. To create the iron mechanism, you will only need to select the trap components options, followed by the iron menu. At the bottom you will find the iron mechanism, which is the last resource you need to create a well.

Image: AOTF

Once that’s crafted, you now have all the resources needed to build a well in Dwarf Fortress!

Related: Where to Find Elk Birds in Dwarf Fortress

Placing a Well in Dwarf Fortress

After collecting all of the components, the next step is finding a proper location to place the well. Ideally, you want it to be somewhere beside a river, as this ensures that the water does not stagnate. That said, if the river is too far away, any body of water will do. Keep in mind, however, that stagnant water can potentially cause your dwarves to fall ill. Keep an eye on them if they’re drinking water from a stagnant source and see if you need to move your source of water if that happens.

Once you find a nearby source of water, click the build icon (first in the middle tab) to bring up the choices once again. You’ll find the well under the machines/fluids tab.

Image: AOTF

A well usually needs to be placed in a sufficiently deep body of water. Once it’s placed, your dwarves will start construction and you’ll just need to wait for it to finish.

Image: AOTF

Once that’s done, you now have a well in Dwarf Fortress!

- This article was updated on February 17th, 2023