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The application of Appropriate Technology

Drilling Boreholes For Hand Pumps

Booklet by SKAT (Swiss Centre for Development Cooperation in Technology and Management) detailing the drilling of boreholes for handpumps.

The provision of underground water supplies has suffered for many years from a mismatch between the water source (the borehole) and the pumping device (the handpump). This uneven correlation has often led to the construction of costly and unsustainable systems based on imported technology.

Optimisation of the processes for producing boreholes can reduce well drilling costs and thus help

to accelerate production. Well costs can be diminished by optimising methods employed during the

following stages of construction:

  • Finding groundwater,
  • Borehole design,
  • Drilling techniques, and
  • Well development and construction

Drilling equipment that is light and easy-to-maintain can be used for drilling boreholes. Its successful application requires rather sound procedures and skilful operations than high investments. This allows making use of the resources that lay in the local private sector.

This booklet seeks to suggest ways in which funds can be better used for making safe water available to the poor by illustrating how drilling costs can be reduced without compromising water quality, water quantity, or the productive life of the borehole. These arguments are directed towards the rural water supply sector as a whole. Those directly addressed are primarily decision makers, government civil servants, planners and implementers of water projects who are not experts in drilling, as well as technical people, project leaders, technical aid personnel etc. This publication is neither a detailed drilling manual nor a methodology of drilling methods.

The author draws on his extensive experience as a member of the UNICEF Water and Environmental Sanitation community. He hopes that his views and proposals will be a catalyst for change, and that this contribution will stimulate interest in experimenting with ideas on low cost drilling of boreholes for handpumps.

You can read the whole document as a PDF file (2.8mb)