A three-year Ugandan project led by Cranfield University has developed technology for shallow well drilling. Even though work still remains to be done before the project is complete, the group has developed cost-effective technology. This article discusses the development, provides guidance for others and introduces the Pounder rig.
Over 30 years, water supplies in parts of Niger have been transformed by private businesses hand augering and installing improved lifting devices. Can the more expensive technologies of percussion drilling and rope pumps also be adopted by the private sector?
Globally, hundreds of thousands of hand, or manually drilled wells provide rural dwellers with water for agriculture and domestic use. The four distinct types of manual drilling are: augering, jetting, percussion and sludging, with variations on each. They are all suitable for niche hydrogeological environments. Different techniques are being utilized in over 20 countries worldwide. Despite its apparent affordability and suitability for local private enterprise, the full cost of hand-drilled wells can still be prohibitive for some end users, particularly if no income can be generated from the investment. There is need for much more collaboration between organizations involved in developing and promoting the technologies, and more lesson-learning from conventional drilling practices. Lack of proper understanding of groundwater resources is a barrier to full exploitation of the technology. More emphasis on monitoring the long-term sustainability of hand-drilled wells including proper diagnosis of the reasons for breakdown is required.