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Solutions for reducing borehole costs in rural Africa

Approximately 256 million people in rural Africa live without access to safe water supplies, in areas that could be appropriately supplied with water from hand-pumped boreholes. Groundwater is generally a readily available source of water throughout Africa. However, high borehole construction costs are slowing progress on increased access. These high costs are largely a result of using drilling equipment with specifications that are greater than those required for the vast majority of boreholes needed in Africa. Using high cost machinery and support equipment leads to high borehole costs, which in turn results in fewer boreholes being drilled. The smaller volume of work per drilling rig creates inefficiencies in equipment usage, and results in increased overheads, driving up costs dramatically.
This field note contends that the current cost of drilled boreholes in Africa can be halved by relaxing borehole specifications in favor of smaller diameter bores drilled by more maneuverable, lower cost equipment. This can be achieved by adopting new approaches: 1) review and revise outdated national standards that favor conservative borehole designs; 2) develop an effective small business sector, made up of African drilling contractors, based in rural areas and spread amongst the communities they are required to serve; 3) promote new, appropriate drilling technologies; and 4) provide continuity of work for local businesses.
According to this field note, the average cost of drilling a borehole can be reduced from USD$6,000 to USD$3,000, and some technological applications could even bring down the cost to less than USD$1,000.

TitleSolutions for reducing borehole costs in rural Africa
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsBall, P.
Secondary TitleField note / WSP
Pagination12 p. : 6 fig., photogr., 1 tab.
Date Published2004-11-01
PublisherWater and Sanitation Program - African Region
Place PublishedNairobi, Kenya
Keywordsafrica, appropriate technology, boreholes, construction costs, efficiency, sdiafr, sdiwat, standards, well drilling
Abstract

Approximately 256 million people in rural Africa live without access to safe water supplies, in areas that could be appropriately supplied with water from hand-pumped boreholes. Groundwater is generally a readily available source of water throughout Africa. However, high borehole construction costs are slowing progress on increased access. These high costs are largely a result of using drilling equipment with specifications that are greater than those required for the vast majority of boreholes needed in Africa. Using high cost machinery and support equipment leads to high borehole costs, which in turn results in fewer boreholes being drilled. The smaller volume of work per drilling rig creates inefficiencies in equipment usage, and results in increased overheads, driving up costs dramatically.
This field note contends that the current cost of drilled boreholes in Africa can be halved by relaxing borehole specifications in favor of smaller diameter bores drilled by more maneuverable, lower cost equipment. This can be achieved by adopting new approaches: 1) review and revise outdated national standards that favor conservative borehole designs; 2) develop an effective small business sector, made up of African drilling contractors, based in rural areas and spread amongst the communities they are required to serve; 3) promote new, appropriate drilling technologies; and 4) provide continuity of work for local businesses.
According to this field note, the average cost of drilling a borehole can be reduced from USD$6,000 to USD$3,000, and some technological applications could even bring down the cost to less than USD$1,000.

Notes7 ref.
Custom 1212.6, 824

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The copyright of the documents on this site remains with the original publishers. The documents may therefore not be redistributed commercially without the permission of the original publishers.