Water wells are region specific and require many monitoring and evaluation processes to decide whether a well is viable, what type of well can be built, and whether drinkable water can be accessed.
A variety of regional and contextual factors must be analyzed prior to any drilling or building of a well. Different regions have different soil surveys, water tables, and water depths.
For example, in the drought prone Tharparkar region in Pakistan, the desert conditions make hand pumps the most viable option of water well since handpumps allow access to deeper groundwater. Wells cannot be thought of in a vacuum – like all our programming, our choices are dependent on sustainability, regional factors, contextual concerns, and building local capacity.
Ensuring sustainability and longevity of water sources is one of the key goals of IDRF’s water well program. In order to ensure these standards, we utilize our local partners to maintain a high standard of monitoring and evaluation prior to any water well location being chosen. The first step to any water well project is having a surveyor complete field assessments of targeted locations facing critical water shortages. After the field assessments are completed, water well locations are identified based on soil survey and assessment of water depth. If there are issues with being able to pinpoint drinkable water or issues related to wells drying up, the project will not move forward.
There are four different types of water wells: motorized water wells, hand pumps, solar water wells, and bore-hole water wells.
MOTORIZED WATER WELLS
The first type of water well is the motorized water well. Motorized wells run on gasoline and the motor generates power to pump water from the ground. We have these types of wells in various regions as well. This type can be seen in our Gaza water well programming which includes ten large community wells. Each well will produce 20 cubic meters of water per hour and will have the capacity of 15 horsepower. Each well will allow for the consumption of clean water for five hours without electricity. These wells will additionally be equipped with a chlorine system added to clarify the water. This project’s impact is estimated to support 7500 individuals upon completion.
HAND PUMP WATER WELLS
The second type of well is the regular hand pump variation. The handpump variation is utilized when the clean groundwater is embedded deep within the ground. We have implemented the hand pump variation in India, Pakistan, and Sahel regions where our program will build 90 feet deep manual hand pumps which will provide clean water for fifteen households.
SOLAR WATER WELLS
The third type of well is the solar water well. Solar water wells are the most sustainable option, but are also the most expensive. Solar panels capture energy from the sun then the energy is used to power an engine/ motor. Then the motor helps to pump water from an underwater reservoir. To reduce the costs, IDRF covers the cost of the solar water well and the maintenance and support costs as well. We have solar water wells in many regions, including our current program in Yemen (We are currently not offering Yemen water wells due to the extreme political turmoil). We have solar water wells in Yemen: three are located in the Hadramout Governorate and one is located in the Abyan Governorate. Through this program alone we have been able to support four villages in accessing water; which includes Al Aeeg, with a population of 1800 people, Gaaodah, which a population of 1500 people, Sana, with a population of 2000 people, and the village of Dafeesh, with a population of 1600 people. We believe sustainability is both a process and an outcome. We hope to continue building more solar water wells which will address both the needs for accessible, safe, drinking water while utilizing green power. We hope to expand our solar water well programming as sustainability is as much a process as an outcome.
BOREHOLE WATER WELLS
In South Africa, bore holes are a reliable source of clean drinking water. The boreholes that will be constructed will be at a depth between 100 to 130 meters. The main advantage of a borehole is that it is possible to penetrate the aquifer to a greater depth ensuring a reliable supply in times of drought or high usage. Typically, a borehole is drilled by machine and is relatively small in diameter and a well is usually sunk by hand and is relatively large in diameter.
Through our local partners, IDRF is able to procure and fund these water wells and cover the cost of training local members to maintain the wells and any other maintenance costs.
Through our various WASH programs, we have increased the number of individuals who can access clean water and sanitation. We hope with the help of our donors, funders, and local partners that we can expand our work and continue to strive for sustainability in all aspects of our programming.