RWSN Collaborations

Cost-Effective Boreholes Striving for Professionalism

Still from the RWSN animated film on Drilling Supervision

© 2015 Dazzleship • WaterAid

Project starts: 2005
Project finished: 2017
Collaborators & Partners: Skat, UNICEF, WaterAid
Funder: Currently: UNICEF, Skat, WaterAid, SDC; In the past: WSP, USAID, Aqua for All


Since 2005, RWSN’s work on Cost-effective boreholes has been supported by WSP-AF, UNICEF, SDC and USAID. Coordination activities have comprised up to two-person months per year by Kerstin Danert (Skat). Additional financial support has been provided for specific case studies, support to the drillers associations, the development of guidelines (published as field notes) and tools and the development of the Code of Practice.

Now, in 2015, we are pushing harder than ever for better, more cost-effectuve boreholes and more professional drillers. We are doing this through work to:

- promote the principles of Cost Effective Boreholes, through films, publications, webinars and events

- researching and documenting realities of manual drilling around the world

Project Description

Broadly speaking the topic has gone through several phases:

• Foundation Phase (2005 to 2006) – in depth study of water well drilling sector in Ethiopia; development of a framework for evaluating cost-effective boreholes in other sub-Saharan African countries and promotion of manual drilling including the establishment of a hand drilling cluster group. Publication of four field notes: Solutions for Reducing Boreholes Costs in Rural Africa, Who is going to drill the African boreholes?, Ten-step Guide towards Cost-effective Boreholes and A Brief History of Hand Drilled Wells in Niger. This work was funded by WSP-AF and involved a team of consultants, including Richard Carter, Kerstin Danert and Erich Baumann.

• Code of Practice Phase I (2007 – 2008) – examination of water well drilling sector in Nigeria and Mozambique; analysis of UNICEF History of Water Well Drilling; development of zero draft of a Code of Practice for Cost-Effective Boreholes; further promotion of manual drilling; establishment of Drillers Associations in Nigeria and Mozambique. Publication of field note Hand Drilling in Nigeria. This work was funded by UNICEF-Headquarters and WSP-AF and undertaken by Kerstin Danert, Dotun Adekile and Tom Armstrong.

• Code of Practice Phase II (2009-2010) – finalisation of a Generic Code of Practice for Water Well Construction; studies of the drilling sector in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria, Mozambique, Sudan, Uganda and Zambia; publication of field notes entitled Costing and Pricing: A guide for Water Well Drilling Enterprises and Siting: A Guide for Project Managers; development of a drilling costing tool. A Hand Drilling Directory was also published. Hand drilling promotion work was largely taken on by UNICEF – New York during this period. The activities undertaken in Phase II were funded by UNICEF-Headquarters and USAID as well as UNICEF Nigeria, UNICEF Sudan and UNICEF Uganda. Activities were undertaken by Kerstin Danert, Dotun Adekile, Bruno Duffau, Clement Kwei, Inoussa Ouedraogo, Ron Sloots and Tom Armstrong.

• Code of Practice Phase III (2011-2012) – field note entitled Sustainable Groundwater Development: use, protect and enhance, cost-effective boreholes synthesis report, support and monitoring of Country Level Processes in Nigeria and Sri Lanka and Sudan. Guidance notes on Drilling Supervision as well as Procurement and Contract Management of Drilled Well Construction. establishment of a Sustainable Groundwater Development working group of about 25 members and opening review. Establishment of an online Sustainable Groundwater Development Community with over 270 members. Four-week E-discussion in September October 2012. UNICEF-hosted webinar/panel discussion in November 2012,

More Information

» Professional Drilling - animated series

WaterAid, UNICEF and Skat are collaborating to produce a series of animated short films to highlight the importance of professional, good quality water well drilling. Too many boreholes are failing because the job wasn't done properly. This is a waste of time, and money from water users, tax-payers and charitable donations. A broken borehole is a broken promise. Let's fix that.

» Groundwater and Drilling webinars and films

RWSN regularly runs webinars that bring together practitioners and researchers from all over the world to share their experiences. Skat and UNICEF have also been documenting manual drilling enterprises in Chad and Nigeria, and documenting what they found.