Hey all! It’s November 15th, time is flying by. I’ll be picking up mail on the 18th and can’t wait to hear from ya’ll! Be sure to write and to ask me questions! Alternatively you can FB me, or write ma n pa, and ask them to forward questions to me. I’ll get to it!

The following is my opinion, does not reflect the opinion of my organization or any other party. It is based on my personal observations, and as such should be regarded as mine alone, and not be attributed to, or noted as the view of any other organization I am affiliated with.

In my last post I mentioned a bore hole. A bore hole is an improved well, using a covered top (cement), long pipe, and hand pump to bring water to the surface. They provide safe (for the most part) clean drinking water from a deeper depth in the water table making them one of the best improved wells available in my region. Now that said, they are exorbitantly expensive compared to the economic resources of local villages. The labor, specialized machinery and tools, as well as knowledge to repair them, is difficult to access, if it can be found at all. Many times, due to their outstanding ability to provide protected, safer drinking water, they are donated and built by NGOs. However, if they break, or the water table drops, or have some other issue (a blockage or leak), the community often abandons them, without hope of being able to repair or replace them and returns to traditional, usually unimproved water sources (surface water, rivers, lakes, unimproved wells, and some improved hand dug wells).

I’m hopeful that in the next few years, we will see an increase in availability of parts, labor, and knowledge, allowing for the development and maintenance of more bore holes. However, for the foreseeable future, I am becoming a proponent of building improved wells using a well cover, a built up well-mound with skirt and soakage pit, and a windlass – a hand crank which can be built using locally available materials. I’ve seen them built with two Y shaped pieces of wood attached to the circular built up brick well opening (reminiscent of what we consider a traditional well), with a smoothed cross piece, and taking advantage of a broken bicycle pedal assembly attached to the smoothed cross piece to wind and unwind a length of rope (or rubber, or in this case strips of rubber and steel mesh from the inside of a tire tied together to form a 10m length) attached to a bucket. There are some disadvantages, carelessness can lead to contamination as the lid might not be replaced after use. Although the bucket itself remains suspended, it is touched by the well-user to empty the water into containers, and as such is another source of contamination. The well also does not reach as far into the water table, and requires a higher water table than a bore hole, thus limiting its location and use. It also can allow for a higher amount of surface contamination if the well is not constructed properly and surface water filters through the soil without being naturally filtered.

Still, the ease of maintenance and construction costs make it much more applicable in rural areas. It needs more research, and numbers to back it up, and the advantages and disadvantages need to be calculated and discussed. This is just a personal observation from my area and community. But I’d like to hear what others are saying about it, and I’m going to try and get some information from local NGOs and aid organizations in the area. I think the most important aspect is access to safer, clean drinking water, and local sustainability – the ability to repair and maintain the water source with local materials, knowledge, and drive.