Our specialist teams are on the ground, right now, drilling water wells in Ethiopia. On this page, we’ve detailed the well-selection process, and looked at the practical and financial considerations involved.
Drilling Water Wells in Ethiopia
Water Wells of Life - Where to Begin?
Over the years, we’ve developed a methodology for the difficult task of selecting those next in line for wells. The list of candidates is long and resources are limited. We evaluate the community, the number of people in need, the types of wells and depths required and the likelihood for success. Water quality, governmental requirements and available funds are considered. Each of these criteria are carefully considered to prioritize our next activities. Sometimes the tipping point for action is based on a particular community’s enthusiasm and desire to participate and take ownership of the project. This local commitment is vital for the longevity of the project.
Fix What's Broken
In Africa, it is estimated that approximately 50% of the water pumps are not in service due to disrepair. The well itself may still be good with abundant, clean water but the lines may be clogged or the pump no longer functioning. A community once blessed with clean, life giving water finds it must return to original water sources and the dangerous health risk that involves.
Existing non-functioning wells that can be repaired are the ‘low-hanging fruit’ in the well decision making process. Clogged lines can be cleaned, broken pumps repaired or replaced at much less cost than constructing an entirely new well system.
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Selecting the Site
Once a community in need has been identified, there are three basic steps in determining the actual site for the water well.
• Geologic Survey: Kebede is Water is Life’s chief geologist who uses fascinating science in finding clean, abundant water with incredible accuracy. Generally, the maximum accessible depth is less than 90 meters with a hand pump arrangement. The cost of drilling increases with with each increase in the depth of well.
• Governmental Permits: Africa is different and things move slowly… like an elephant moves. Strong relationships, patience and persistence are required when working with governmental agencies. One might think permits and permissions are a mere formality but, in reality, it can be a complicated process.
• Engage the Community: The new well will be an integral, social part of the community. It will be a place where important decisions are made, general village happenings discussed and, yes, some gossiping too. These are a valuable part of the community’s culture and factor into the wells specific location. The community will be the caretakers of the well and it is essential they are involved in the site selection process.
Water Use Committee
For each water point, a Water Use Committee (WUC) is formed to create a sense of ownership and responsibility to properly manage the precious resource. The WUC is comprised of four women and three men elected by the community. Management of the well by the WUC includes managing the pumping schedule and collecting an affordable fee to pay for future repairs. The WUC relates directly to the local Water Bureau for accountability. The WUC also relates to the local Health Bureau to promote improved hygiene and sanitation through local training events.
How Deep Should a Well be for Drinking Water?
The depth of each water well depends on the depth of the water level beneath the surface. This is strongly influenced by the rock type and geology in the region. Sometimes, there may be fresh water within 30ft of the surface. Other times, it’s necessary to drill water wells 300+ft deep.
How Much Does It Cost to Build a Water Well?
The cost of building a water well can vary widely, typically from around $6,000 to $100,000+. The exact figure depends on the depth of well required, as well as the hardness of the local rock. The type of water well and filtration system required also has a bearing on the final cost.
A simple scenario would involve drilling a shallow water well with percussion drilling equipment. In an easily accessible location, such a project might cost around $6,000. A deep well, fitted with a solar-panel-powered electric pump, might cost $100,000. Such a solution would serve many people, and this costing would include the foundation of a local Water Use Committee and Sustainable Living Team.
It’s only through your support that we’re able to fund our vital work drilling water wells in Ethiopia. Make a donation or support us with Amazon Smile.