When embarking on a site with an aquifer you have to get below the aquifer to reach stone. Is an aquifer like an underground river where you can dig around?

Or do you have to go through the aquifer? I can't mine any of the damp stone that covers it.

  • 1
    You can, by manually redesignating the damp stone to be mined. Note, however, that this will very easily lead to Fun and is not recommended unless you really want to see what happens... Commented Sep 24, 2013 at 12:27
  • @shadur I tried reassigning at least five times. It works on non-aquifer damp stone, but not on aquifer damp stone.
    – Arperum
    Commented Sep 24, 2013 at 12:44
  • There is also a way to turn off aquifers with the lazy noob pack, incase you do not want them to appear at all on the map.
    – Madmenyo
    Commented Sep 24, 2013 at 18:55

2 Answers 2


An aquifer is one or more layers of rocks that spew water in all four horizontal directions, as well as down, if there is empty space there.

Aquifers are discussed in depth here: Aquifers

There are seven or eight methods of dealing with aquifers discussed there.

In addition, the Double Slit method is one of the more straightforward, though painstaking, methods for dealing with any aquifer: Double Slit Method

The Double Slit method uses pumps to pump water from one side of your work site, draining excess water into other aquifer blocks, while miners dig out the walls around the work site, and masons or carpenters then wall off those dug out sections. After each layer of the aquifer is secured, the next lower layer is probed, and, if there's another layer of the aquifer, the same process is repeated. Once the bottom of the aquifer layers has been found, a slightly different draining procedure is used to secure the lowest aquifer layer.

  • Could you possibly add a description of the linked Double-slit method in case of link rot?
    – Sconibulus
    Commented Sep 24, 2013 at 13:25
  • I put in a high level overview of the Double Slit method, but it would be a serious wall of text to include the entire thing here, and the pictures in the linked text are extremely helpful in understanding the process. Commented Sep 24, 2013 at 13:54
  • This seems like enough to give a starting point, and so still be a useful answer even if the link goes down.
    – Sconibulus
    Commented Sep 24, 2013 at 13:57

An aquifer is a layer of water-bearing stone found in certain biomes. Digging the stone in question is possible but any removed stone will be replaced with water. In addition, exposed stone in that layer will slowly produce more water until you smooth it.

Sometimes an aquifer covers an entire layer of a site. Other times, if the site spans two biomes, you may be able to dig around it.

The simplest way to dig through the aquifer is to use screw pumps to remove the water as you dig downwards and have your dwarfs smooth any walls which are left exposed.

For more complex methods, the wiki has an extremely good page on aquifers and dealing with them.

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