The first step to improving access to a safe community water supply in many developing countries is to move from a traditional (unprotected, untreated, often distant and drought-prone) source to a well or borehole with hand pump.

In many communities, drilling a borehole well is the most effective long-term solution. WATERisLIFE uses several types of drill rigs, depending on the geology and accessibility of the area.

Big Rig Drilling

The first approach is the large, sophisticated (and usually hydraulic) drilling rig, which is a larger investment in capital but provides a greater return. This technology can drill to hundreds of feet and, based on location and geological conditions, create long-term water access for a $5,000-$25,000 investment.

Conventional Drilling

The second approach is a small conventional rig. Small cable-tool rigs, small trailer-mounted hydraulic rigs and unconventional mechanical rigs are lower-cost options — and appropriate for many situations. In this case, wells can be drilled for less than $8,000 total (including software and hardware).

Hand Drilling

The third approach is a human operated drill such as the Water4 drill rig. This technique keeps costs and technical sophistication to a minimum, with significant potential for both a clean drinking water supply and small irrigation well construction. This type of well can cost a few hundred to a few thousand U.S. dollars, depending on location.