Challenges of Water Well Drillers & Water Well Drillers Associations Case Studies of Six Countries Angola, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Nigeria, Uganda and United States of America

Challenges of Water Well Drillers & Water Well Drillers Associations

© 2019 Dr. Flavio Pasqualato, Draci (U) Ltd. • Skat Foundation

Project starts: 2018
Project finished: 2020
Collaborators & Partners: Skat Foundation
Funder: Skat Foundation


Groundwater has been identified as the key to sustainable development and forms the foundation for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (UN-Water, 2018). Although not properly recognised in the SDG framework, its importance is seen in its provisioning and regulating functions (e.g. maintaining river base flow, preventing land subsidence and seawater intrusion), and acting as a solution for climate change adaptation. Groundwater accounts for over 97% of the world’s freshwater resources, and it is readily available.
Groundwater is diminishing in some regions, and water quality deterioration is increasing (UN-Water, 2018). With no incentives to save groundwater, the impacts of unsustainable use are slow and multiple (Villholth, 2018). In order to sustainably manage groundwater resources, intervention is needed at different levels and in accordance with local contexts.
Drillers are in direct contact with groundwater resources and thus understand key issues on the ground. If well organised, such as in the form of an association, and empowered with knowledge, drillers can advocate for and influence policies at state and national levels, and even lobby the governments to bring groundwater issues to the forefront.

Project Description

This study documents, for the first time, water well drillers associations in six countries, presenting the issues faced by them in their different country contexts. The study set out to enable learning and sharing, as well as to open up opportunities for future collaborations, volunteering and study visits.
The study has found that water well drillers face numerous challenges. The main challenges, based on their reoccurrence in most of the studied countries (five countries), comprise eight categories, as follows:
1. Capacity
2. Contracts and standards
3. Procurement
4. Finance and payment
5. Corruption
6. Data
7. Logistics
8. Availability of spare parts.

The study makes a number of recommendations, which are presented in the following:
Short term
1. Further investigate the drillers associations in other countries around the world.
2. Prioritise the establishment of an association where there is none, and rekindle non-active ones.
3. Build the technical and managerial capacity of water well drillers and put in place a sustainable platform for continuous professional development.
4. Sensitise and strengthen the capacity of national institutions on the importance of groundwater in order to help to bring groundwater issues to the fore.
5. Develop school curricula for primary and secondary students on groundwater-related topics and advocate for compulsory internships for undergraduate students in water-related fields.
6. Create a global platform of young professionals with the objective to deepen the understanding, create awareness and increase interests of youth from different countries regarding groundwater issues. Also, create re-orientation courses where possible.

Long term
7. Create a global platform for drillers, experts, institutions working on groundwater issues in collaboration with existing institutions to learn and share best practices.
8. Engage in study and exchange programmes including creating mechanisms for internships and volunteering.


This document was written by a Young Professional volunteer. Under its new strategy 2018-2023, the Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN) emphasises engagement with young people in the rural water sector. Through its 2018 Young Professional Engagement Strategy, RWSN launched a call for those who wanted to get involved in RWSN’s thematic activities as volunteers. These activities are designed to help young professionals gain experience in the sector by supporting RWSN Theme Leaders, and being mentored in return. For more information, see

Compiled by Uyoyoghene Traorè, France
Supervision of work by Dr Kerstin Danert, Skat Foundation
Cover Photo is by Dr. Flavio Pasqualato, Draci (U) Ltd.

More Information

» Final Report: Challenges of Water Well Drillers & Water Well Drillers Associations

close menu

close menu

close menu