Manual Borehole Drilling as a Cost-Effective Solution for Drinking Water Access in Low-Income Contexts
2. Social and Economic Context
3. Manual Drilling Methods
3.1. Augering and Bailing
3.2. Percussion and Bailing
4. Manual Boreholes Versus other Technical Solutions
4.1. Manual Boreholes Versus Mechanized Boreholes
4.2. Manual Boreholes Versus Excavated Wells
5. Manual Boreholes: Successes and Challenges
Conflicts of Interest
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|Wells and boreholes||Borehole||A narrow shaft bored in the ground for the purpose of extracting groundwater. Boreholes are cased, gravel packed and equipped with a pump and wellhead protection.|
|Manual borehole||A borehole drilled by manual means, replicating the work of a mechanical rig by hand. Typically less than 50 m deep, with a casing diameter of 70 to 400 mm. May be gravel packed and equipped with a pump and wellhead protection.|
|Mechanized borehole||A borehole drilled by means of a mechanical rig. It may be hundreds of meters deep.|
|Excavated well, dug well, well||A large diameter hole in the ground used for the purpose of extracting groundwater. Typically dug with peak and shovel. It may be lined with concrete or bricks and equipped with a wellhead for protection. Generally less than 20–30 m deep.|
|Pumps||Commercial pump||A commercially available pump used to extract groundwater from a borehole. Most standard pumps require casing diameters in excess of 200 mm. Yields are variable.|
|Factory-made hand pump||A pump powered by hand. If the aquifer is sufficiently productive, yields are limited by the pumping capacity of a human being.|
|Electric submersible pump||A pump powered by electricity from the grid, using gasoil or solar energy. If the aquifer is sufficiently productive, yields may exceed those from hand and locally made pumps.|
|Locally made handpump||A non-commercial hand pump. Typically made with inexpensive local materials and powered by human action. Less durable than a factory-made hand pump, but easier to make and cheaper to fix. The flow rate is similar.|
|Bangladesh||Millions||Most sedimentary basins||Sludging||1900s to date||$1 per meter|
|Bolivia||30,000||EMAS, Baptist||1983 to date||$300|
|Chad||Thousands||Central Chad||1960s to date|
|Democratic Republic of Congo||>1000||West, south and some in the east||Jetting, village drill||2007 to date|
|Kenya||10,000||Various regions||Augering, sludging, percussion, Baptist||1979 to date||$4000 (augered to 40 m)|
|India||Millions||Various regions||Sludging, jetting, augering||Indigenous technology|
|Madagascar||12,000||East and west coast (driven wells), throughout the country (jetting, rota-sludge)||Driven wells, jetting, rota-sludge||1960s to date (driven); early 2000s to date (jetting, rota-sludge)||$35 to $50 (driven wells); $1000 to $3000 (<30 m depth)|
|Nepal||>100,000||Terai (lowland)||Sludging||1950s to date||$20–$450|
|Niger||16,000||Maradi and Zinder regions||Augering, jetting, rota-sludge, percussion||1900s (irrigation; 2005 to date|
|Nigeria||30,000||At least 27 of the 36 states||Jetting, augering, percussion, Baptist||Early 1980s to date||$2500 or less|
|Senegal||>4000||Various regions||Augering, jetting, percussion, rota-jetting||1991 to date||$1600 to $2000|
|Uganda||<1000||Lake Victoria, west, north and south||Rotary-sludge, rotary jetting, Baptist||Late 1980s to early 1990s; pilot projects from 1998 to 2013.|
|Technique||Material||Advantages||Disadvantages||Drilling Range (m)|
|Augering||Unconsolidated sediments||Simple, cheap, fast in soft sediments||Limited to soft materials and to relatively small depths. May be problematic when drilling below the water table.||15–20|
|Jetting||Unconsolidated sediments||Fast in soft sediments||Potentially expensive equipment. A large volume of water is needed.||25–50|
|Percussion and bailing||Unconsolidated sediments and soft weathered rock||Can drill through moderately hard rocks. May be coupled with sludging.||Slower and potentially more expensive than other methods.||25–50|
|Sludging||Unconsolidated sediments||Ease of use. Fast in soft sediments.||Limited to soft materials.||25–50|
|Aspect||Excavated Wells||Manual Boreholes||Mechanized Boreholes|
|Business investment||Very low—digging tools typically amount to less than $50.||Low—between $500 and $2000, depending on geographical and technical considerations.||Very high—a drilling rig costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.|
|Drilling cost||Very low (≈0) if the user digs the well of if labor exchange is involved. More expensive if labor is hired or if well is lined/protected ($50–$400).||Low—$5 to $25 per meter for a borehole equipped with grid, gravel pack and well-head protection.||High—$80 to $1000 per meter (in extreme cases) for a borehole equipped with grid, gravel pack and well-head protection.|
|Cost of extraction devices||Negligible if water is extracted with buckets. Between $300–$4000 if commercial pumps are used.||Negligible if water is extracted with a locally-made hand pump. Between $300–$4000 if commercial pumps are used.||Commercial pump almost always used ($300–$4000).|
|Depth||Up to 20–30 m (may be considerably deeper occasionally). Collapse risk when digging below the water table in unconsolidated sediments.||Average depths usually range between 25 and 50 m. May exceed 100 m in very favourable conditions.||Up to several hundred meters deep. May capture groundwater at great depths.|
|Accessibility of technology for users||Widely accessible. Users may dig their own wells.||Users may drill their own boreholes with some guidance. Small-scale enterprises can also provide the service.||Users always need to rely on professional drilling enterprises.|
|Time and labour||Very laborious and time-consuming. Wells usually take weeks to dig.||Under very favourable conditions boreholes can be drilled in one day and installed on the following one. In most settings, boreholes may take a few weeks to drill.||Typically quick. In some cases boreholes can be drilled, equipped and developed within two or three days. However, transporting a mechanized rig to the site may be time-consuming (even unfeasible).|
|Geological constrains||Can make it through hard rock, but will take a long time (weeks to years in extreme cases). Digging is often restricted to the end of the dry season.||Typically suited to soft, unconsolidated sediments, but some methods (i.e., percussion and variations of percussion) may traverse consolidated rocks of medium hardness (sandstone, laterite). Can drill at any time of the year.||Usable under most geological conditions at any time of the year.|
|Yield||Dependent on diameter, extraction device (i.e., buckets or pump). In some cases several people can extract water simultaneously. Typically 0.5–4 m3/h.||Dependent on extraction device. Typically 0.5–1.2 m3/h for hand pumps, and 1–4 m3/h with powered pumps.||Dependent on extraction device. Typically 0.5–1.2 m3/h for hand pumps. Several hundred m3/h with a powered pump (subject to hydrogeological conditions).|
|Frequent hazards||Collapses and materials dropping into the hole during construction. Also prone to contamination and drying due to shallowness. Nearby contamination sources can compromise supplies.||Insufficient technical expertise leading to poor borehole construction or to the loss of the borehole during construction. Nearby contamination sources can compromise supplies.||Combed or inclined boreholes. Contractor ill-will or insufficient technical expertise leading to poor borehole construction. Nearby contamination sources can compromise supplies.|
|Suitability for consumption||Only protected wells qualify as improved water sources.||Qualify as improved water sources if adequately protected.||Qualify as improved water sources if adequately protected.|
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Martínez-Santos, P.; Martín-Loeches, M.; Díaz-Alcaide, S.; Danert, K. Manual Borehole Drilling as a Cost-Effective Solution for Drinking Water Access in Low-Income Contexts. Water 2020, 12, 1981. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12071981
Martínez-Santos P, Martín-Loeches M, Díaz-Alcaide S, Danert K. Manual Borehole Drilling as a Cost-Effective Solution for Drinking Water Access in Low-Income Contexts. Water. 2020; 12(7):1981. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12071981Chicago/Turabian Style
Martínez-Santos, Pedro, Miguel Martín-Loeches, Silvia Díaz-Alcaide, and Kerstin Danert. 2020. "Manual Borehole Drilling as a Cost-Effective Solution for Drinking Water Access in Low-Income Contexts" Water 12, no. 7: 1981. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12071981