Professional Drilling Management – Online Course 2022

An estimated 50% of the global and 75% of the African population rely on groundwater for their drinking water supplies. This is likely to increase in the future, especially in the face of climate change.

Drilled water wells are vital to achieving universal, clean drinking water, with the sources safe, affordable, reliable and available. Services also need to be constructed in order to last. To achieve this, water wells, or boreholes must be drilled, developed and completed in a professional manner. Key elements of a professional drilling sector are procurement, contract management, siting, borehole design, construction, and supervision. Water resources must also be considered and long-term support is required to maintain water supply services.

Drilling Supervision Course in Sierra Leone (source: Kerstin Danert)

This new online course on professional drilling management, will equip participants with knowledge on: groundwater information, siting, costing and pricing, procurement and contract management, borehole drilling and supervision and how professional water well drilling is affected by the wider regulatory framework and institutional environment. By the end of the course participants will:

  • Have an understanding of the key elements of a professional water well drilling sector including key reasons that boreholes fail, or perform poorly and why drilling supervision is important.
  • Recognise the value of groundwater data and know what constitutes good borehole siting.
  • Appreciate the importance of drilling supervision.
  • Have improved their knowledge of drilling procurement and contract management
  • Understand what constitutes a strong institutional framework (at national or state level) for borehole drilling, including driller licencing, borehole permits and drillers associations.
Course content
Groundwater Data and Siting 
Procurement and Contract Management 
Borehole Drilling and Supervision 
Legal and Institutional Considerations 
Actions to Raise Drilling Professionalism

The course is designed for professionals already engaged in the management of water well drilling, or those that expect to do so, with an emphasis on low– and middle–income countries. Target participants include government, NGO, UN and donor organisation staff, as well as those working in the private sector. Participants may be working in development or humanitarian aid/emergency contexts.

Interested applicants are welcome to apply between Tuesday, 10th May and Wednesday, 15th June 2022, with successful participants informed by 20th June. The course will start on Friday, 24th June and run up to the 29th October 2022. Application link: https://cap-net.org/pdm/

Stop the rot: evidence and action for to handpump quality

Currently, about half a billion people, in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), equivalent to half of the population, rely on protected and unprotected groundwater point sources for their main drinking water supplies. With the expected increases in rainfall variability due to climate change, sustainable groundwater sources will be evermore important in supporting resilience in the future.

Access to safe, reliable water supplies in low-income countries, particularly in rural areas has been improved through handpumps, which provide a viable alternative to contaminated surface water, open wells and unprotected springs.

Three new reports from the ‘Stop the Rot’ initiative published in March 2022 examine handpump reliance, rapid corrosion, the quality of handpump components and supply chains in SSA. The research looked specifically at the main public domain handpumps – the India Mark Pump, and the Afridev Pump, and also drew on learnings from the Zimbabwe Bush Pump.

Using the most recent data published by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) through the Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP), the ‘Stop the Rot’ research estimates that almost 200 million people in SSA (18.5% of the total population) rely on handpumps to provide them with their main drinking water supply (Figure below). Further, an estimated 700,000 handpumps are in use in SSA. Meanwhile, 23% of the SSA population still rely on unsafe and distant water sources, of which many could benefit from a handpump. At least for a generation, if not much longer, handpumps are here to stay.

Estimated proportion of the total population relying on handpumps for their main drinking water supply

Despite their merits, criticism has been directed towards handpumps. Limited ability to transport large quantities of water, coupled with a lack of storage capacity at the home, means that water from handpumps is usually fetched on a daily basis. Handpumps have also made the headlines: in 2010, an estimated two out of three handpumps in SSA were working; a decade later it was estimated to have only improved to three out of four.  

A handpump breaks down for a specific technical reason (such as the breakage of the chain, an O-ring failing or corroded riser pipes), but its repair depends on the ability of the users, often a community, to raise funds, organise a mechanic and source spare parts. In turn, these depend on other factors within the locality and country, including the available services support mechanisms by governments, NGOs and the private sector. When water services fail, there are negative impacts on health and other human development gains, not to mention the burden on users of finding alternative sources. These may be distant, overcrowded, or contaminated.

A sizeable drop in handpump functionality in the first one to two years after installation is a common occurrence, and represents a premature technical failure. Something went wrong with the engineering – such as the borehole siting, design and/or construction, pump quality or installation, or the pump use – or there was vandalism or theft. Alternatively, the installation may have been rejected by the users from the outset due to its location, or the appearance or taste of the water.

The series of three ‘Stop the Rot’ publications draw attention to rapid handpump corrosion, whereby aggressive groundwater destroys the galvanising layer and so galvanised iron (or poor-quality stainless steel) riser pipes and pump rods essentially rot in the ground at a very fast rate (see Figures below). The term ‘aggressive’ refers to the ability of the groundwater to corrode, disintegrate and deteriorate materials it is in contact with, and includes, but is not limited to acidity is one type of pump.

This phenomenon has been known about since the 1980s. However, this new study finds evidence of rapid corrosion in in at least 20 SSA countries. A related problem is the quality of handpump components. The research draws attention to long supply chains from manufacture to installation, shows that component quality is not consistent and that there is limited guidance on quality assurance, and that in many cases, procedures are lacking.

The study proposes the establishment of an action group of key organisations involved in Rural Water Supplies in SSA, and handpumps in particular, to join hands and take a lead in tackling the challenge. Many actions are needed at international, national and local level. These including raising awareness of the extent that handpumps are used in SSA, which will continue into the future. There is need for sensitization regarding the ongoing rapid corrosion issue, and how it can be addressed alongside incentives for doing so. There is also the need to invest in updating handpump specifications, improving quality assurance mechanisms and strengthening procurement procedures and practice.

The full set of research reports can be downloaded here. From the end April 2022, they will also be available in French.

If you would like to learn more, and engage with the topic and with others, please register here to attend the webinar on 26th April 2022.

This is a shortened version of a blog that was originally published by PLOS Latitude.

Groundwater Resources Management New Online Course – 2022 

Apply by 11th April 2022

An estimated 75% of the African population relies on groundwater for their drinking water. Groundwater supports social and economic development and will become increasingly important in the face of climate change, droughts and floods. If groundwater is to provide reliable, safe and sustainable water supplies now and for future generations, the resource must be well-managed. This requires consideration of the entire system of policies & laws, strategies & guidance, monitoring & management as well as investments & projects. Those that manage and develop groundwater need to be equipped with appropriate skills and knowledge.

This new online course on groundwater resources management, launched in 2022 will provides participants with a comprehensive overview what impacts upon groundwater. Echoing the theme of the World Water Day 2022, this course will make the invisible visible. 

Participants who successfully complete the course will have an awareness of the importance of groundwater, understand the need to preserve it and be equipped with basic knowledge to engage in the management of groundwater resources at national and transboundary levels.

Transboundary aquifers in Africa: Approaches and mechanisms

Course content
– Characterisation of Aquifer Systems from a Management Perspective
– Groundwater monitoring and data/information management & communication
– Groundwater quality and source water protection
– Groundwater regulation, licensing, allocation and institutions for aquifer management
– Transboundary aquifers in Africa: Approaches and mechanisms

The online course is open to 250 participants from governments, NGOs, basin organisations, private sector, training organisations, academic organisations and donors. The course will start on Friday 29th April and run up to the 29th August. The application process is open to Tuesday 11th April 2022. 

Successful participants will be informed by the 22nd April 2022. 

Application link: https://cap-net.org/grm/