In 2010 Willamette International worked in partnership with humanitarian organizations to establish a hand well drilling enterprise in Sierra Leone, West Africa. The wells or “bore holes” are dug with a post hole digger type auger bit shown in the photograph with this presentation (1) .
All of the energy expended to advance the auger bit into the ground is manual labor. Once the bore hole is complete, PVC casement is advanced into the bore hole (2, 3, 4) We are able to advance wells up to 75 feet in with this mechanism.
The next photo shows the different types of soils we encountered in this particular well (5). We have different auger bits to accommodate the different types of soils. Of 60 wells thus far, in only one case was it necessary to summon a cable truck to advance the bore hole through bedrock. Presently we have two well drilling units in Sierra Leone and we are able to dig about four wells per month.
Finally, the entire pumping apparatus is assembled as a single unit and advanced through the tripod (6). Having installed the well themselves, local persons are familiar with its simple operation and positioned to effect any needed repairs.
Because of the labor intensive nature of this manner of digging wells, it is considerably slower than digging the same well with a truck. However, this type of well drilling makes it possible to employ more people. It is also accomplished at roughly half of the cost of a conventional well dug by truck ($3500). Some communities have requested a solar powered pumping mechanism which is also available at a higher cost. All components are purchased within the country. The pump you see here is operated under a vacuum “tire pump” mechanism allowing for no mechanized parts (7).
In 2005 representative from Greater Albany Rotary Club and Rotary Club of Albany secured a grant with the Rotary Foundation (MG 64336) to capture water as the Newton Dam site shown here (8).
The water is captured out of the tank which is supplied by a natural aquifer (9). The water is pumped two miles away by solar powered (10) pumps (11) to a hill to two elevated tanks (12) .
The water is treated at the elevated tanks and gravity fed to six dispensing stations in a village called Waterloo, that accommodates eight different people-groups. The village of Waterloo was a former refugee camp established after the civil war in 2001. Partnership with different groups have purchased a water station by advancing the water feeding line an additional 500ft making it accessible to yet another distinct people group (13)
If you would like to hear more about this water project in Sierra Leone, West Africa, please contact Jerry McIntosh at (541) 905-0618 to schedule a more detailed conversation and possibly a presentation at your church or organization.