The need for professional associations for water well drillers

This is a guest blog by RWSN Young Professional Uyoyoghene U. Traoré, geologist and freelance consultant in water and environment. This article was originally published in GeoDrilling international and is reposted with thanks. You can read the original article here.

Groundwater accounts for over 97% of the world’s fresh water with over two million people depending on it for their Survival. In Africa, it is estimated that groundwater provides over 75% of the population with a drinking water supply, and has been said to be essential in securing equitable water access for the rural and urban poor around the world. It has been established that groundwater has a major role to play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for drinking water. Though very important, groundwater is not properly captured in national or international monitoring. As an unseen resource, it is easily forgotten, making it undervalued and not properly managed.

As an entry point towards the progressive and effective management of groundwater, I undertook a study on the challenges of water well drillers and drillers association in six countries – Angola, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Nigeria, Uganda and the United State of America was carried out. I tried to understand groundwater issues within these countries from the perspective of drillers themselves. Drillers are in direct contact with the resource, and some have recognised the importance of having a drillers association.

As at the time of the study (2019) only three water well drillers association exist and were active only in Nigeria, Uganda and the USA. In the case of the others (inactive), there is an informal working group in Angola, an organised body in Burkina-Faso and Mozambique.  Where they exist, drillers associations were an entry point to support national, international and local partners in groundwater management, were able to advocate and lobby for sustainable policies and realistic contracts. They also sensitised the public on the resource and helped reduce the presence of unqualified drillers from the sector.

In the study, I identified eight main challenges for water well drillers, namely – capacity, contracts and standards, procurement, finance and payment, corruption, data, logistics, and the availability of spare parts. I also learned about the advantages and disadvantages of having an association, as well as what makes them successful or not. A lack of clarity with respect to groundwater policies, and a lack of capacity by national institutions to implement policies or engage in groundwater monitoring was apparent in four (Angola, Burkina Faso, Mozambique and Nigeria) of the six countries.

So, what did the study reveal?

  • With the exception of the USA, there is a lack of capacity of drillers and national institutions in the countries studied. Drillers often lack the capacity to drill water wells in a sustainable way. In most of the cases, this is due to the absence of dedicated training institutions on groundwater issues or the inability of organised drillers association to engage in the development of its members.
  • Poor contract management, lack of transparency and corruption in procurement processes were mentioned. These have adversely affected the quality of drilled wells leading to a short lifespan of these wells. “Turn- key contracts” (Burkina Faso & Uganda), “No water no pay principle” (Mozambique & Nigeria) and “the gentleman’s agreement” (Angola) are some forms of poor contract identified. The client passes all, or most of the risk of finding water to the drillers – even in places where good groundwater resources are not easy to find.
  • Delayed payments by clients poses danger to the long-term viability of drillers’ businesses. This is a particular challenge in countries where the government is the major client (Angola, Burkina Faso, Mozambique and Uganda).
  • The absence or lack of groundwater data means underestimation of prices of drilling in certain terrains as well as drilling with uncertainty. The USA and Uganda are the only two countries with some form of groundwater data.
  • Drillers associations struggle to sustain themselves on a long term due to lack of finance resulting from low membership. In Mozambique and Burkina Faso for example, some drillers still do not see the need for an association while, there is no dedicated member to run the informal working group in Angola.
  • It was noted that there is a lack of transparency in existing associations except the USA. Leadership find it difficult and costly to be accountable to members and non-members alike.
  • Except for the USA, and more recently Uganda, the associations have not been able to engage in continuous capacity building, or training programs for its members. This has been identified as mainly being a result of lack of funds.

A major concern observed is the future of groundwater. In all six countries studied, it was found that there are very few or no young professionals in the field. This indeed put the future of groundwater development at a very high risk. In addition, very few women were observed to be in the profession.

From my work, I have two sets of recommendations:

  • In the short term, it is imperative that drillers association in other countries be investigated. Prioritise the establishment of drillers associations in countries where there are none and support rekindling inactive ones. The capacity of drillers and national institutions should be strengthened – advocate for compulsory internship programs on a continuous basis. Also, develop school curriculum on water with emphasis on ground water. Create a global platform for young professionals dedicated to training, learning, including internships with local firms.
  • In the long term, there is need to create a global platform for drillers, experts and institutions working on groundwater water issues in collaboration with existing institutions to learn and share best practices. Develop in study and exchange programmes, including creating mechanisms for international internships and volunteering.

I hope, that my study will help to inspire developmental organisation, funders, national institutions and above all drillers themselves to recognise the importance of using professional drillers and to support, and collaborate with water well drillers associations.

The study was carried out by Uyoyoghene U. Traoré as a volunteer for the Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN) under its 2018-2023 young professional engagement strategy. The full study can be downloaded here.

Ugandan drillers receive training at the Water Resources Institute

Being back in Uganda again after an absence of five years gives me immense joy. This country of warmth, friendliness and humour, where one can literally have an engaging conversation with anyone, whether askari (guard), taxi driver, fruit and vegetable seller, driller or civil servant. Thus, my few days here have been filled with shared laughter and kaboozi (Luganda for conversation or gossip, but the word conveys so much more).

My visit to Kampala has coincided with the first day of a three-day training entitled “Practical Skills in Drilling” by Uganda’s Water Resources Institute. The training is for 25 drillers and assistant drillers, and comprises a classroom day, followed by two days in the field. As we sit waiting for the training to commence, I ask the participants (all men so far) why there are no women drillers. We talk about the man’s world of drilling (stamina needed), and the women’s world of fetching water (stamina needed). The discussion is engaging and together we reflect on the role of women and men in society and the home. For my side I feel proud to be one of the few women involved in drilling and talk about the two manual companies that I have heard about in Zambia which are run by women. On the spot, I really wish that there were many more of us….

The training commences. The course is a collaboration between the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE) Water Resources Institute (WRI) and the Uganda Drilling Contractors Association (UDCA). The Chair of the Association, Dr Flavio Pasqualato from Draco (U) Ltd., gives a his opening words of encouragement, followed by the Managing Director, Anthony Luutu of Aquatech Ltd. I am invited to say a few words, and express my delight at seeing training of drillers that I wish was happening on a regular basis in ALL countries on the African continent and beyond.

Training 1

Gracious Sembali systematically collects the expectations of the participants

Dr Callist Tindimugaya (MWE) officially opens the training, pointing out that when people are learning informally from each other, that the message will change over time. I think of the game of Chinese whispers and vow to include it as an icebreaker at the start of my next drilling training course make his point. Callist also adds that “Nobody has all the knowledge; you can learn from each other”, something that is key in adult education.

Training 2

Dr Callist Tindimugaya explains the hydrogeology of Uganda to participants

Trying to raise drilling professionalism is a significant undertaking, and I am struck by the pragmatic messages that Callist conveys to all of us. “If you and your colleagues are doing a good job, you will raise the respect for drillers in Uganda…..we want drillers to be seen as serious and doing good quality work”.

It is clear that the training that the institute has been undertaking has had an effect on training methods. Gracious Sembali from Hippo Technical Services systematically collects the expectations of the participants, and writes them up on a flip chart, carefully grouping them:

  1. Improve knowledge and skills (e.g. when to stop drilling, mud drilling techniques, formation collapse, drilling in sediments)
  2. Standardisation in drilling
  3. Knowledge of different formations
  4. Certification as a driller by UCDA
  5. Knowledge-sharing including experiences
  6. Hydrological aspects and siting
  7. Handling of clients and public relations
  8. Availability of geological maps
  9. Expectations of facilitators
  10. Benefits of UCDA membership and recognition

As I listen, I am struck by the number of issues that are beyond the training course itself, something I have also observed in the course I have run, or managed. The specific skills sought and wider concerns are intertwined.

Alas, I am only able to attend the first presentation, an overview of Uganda’s geology and hydrogeology. I learn a lot, and observe the participants taking notes, and later asking questions. There is so much to be learnt, and the eagerness of these drillers and assistant drillers is apparent. I am delighted at what I see, encouraged, and then start thinking about the number of drillers on the African continent, and that this is needed for all. I try not to get disheartened. There are national training institutes undertaking short courses like these, or longer courses in Nigeria and Ethiopia. In some countries, people are more than aware of the need, and the demand, but are looking left and right for funding, without success. I am glad to have run similar courses, but am so aware that to date these have been ad hoc.

So my closing words? A huge thank you to the Ministry of Water and Environment’s Water Resources Institute and the Uganda Drilling Contractors Association (UCDA) for what you are doing. It is inspirational.

Now, how can training in drilling professionalism be institutionalised elsewhere?

Photo credits: Dr Kerstin Danert.

Corrosion de la pompe à main et qualité des matériaux : Un défi pour le Burkina Faso et le reste du monde

Au Burkina Faso, le nombre élevé de forages équipés d’une pompe à motricité humaine (PMH) qui dysfonctionnent ou qui nécessitent de grosses réparations quelques années seulement après leur construction est alarmant. Les audits techniques effectués en 2013 et 2014 au Burkina Faso sur des forages équipés de PMH ont révélé des situations préoccupantes en termes de qualité de l’eau, de matériel inadapté aux profondeurs des puits et de pompes non-conformes. Dans plus d’un tiers des cas, les forages équipés de PMH dysfonctionnent ou deviennent même totalement inutilisables en moins de quelques années. Entre 0.6 milliards de FCFA (0.9 million d’€) et 2.9 milliards de FCFA (4,5 millions d’€) d’investissements annuels seraient ainsi perdus du fait de l’installation de PMH de qualité médiocre et de diverses malfaçons lors des travaux de construction. Chaque année, plus de 130 000 personnes bénéficient d’un service d’approvisionnement en eau dont la pérennité n’est de ce fait pas assurée au-delà des premières années.

La corrosion des PMH est un phénomène connu depuis plus de 30 ans ; elle demeure pourtant un problème majeur au Burkina Faso car les gouvernements successifs et les agences d’aide au développement ont continué d’installer des pompes fabriquées à partir de matériaux inadaptés. Ces pratiques ont généré des coûts d’entretien élevés, de multiples pannes et le rejet de nombreux points d’eau par les communautés car l’eau y était de mauvaise qualité. La corrosion des PMH est un problème mondial majeur, dont le secteur EAH ne s’est jusqu’à présent toujours pas saisi à sa juste mesure, et qui risque d’empêcher la réalisation de l’Objectif du Développement Durable n°6 au Burkina Faso comme dans d’autres pays. Sur les forums de discussion en ligne du Réseau pour l’Approvisionnement Rural en Eau (RWSN), les experts internationaux font notamment remonter comme principales préoccupations à ce sujet : des matériaux et des pièces composantes de qualité inadaptée, un manque de contrôle qualité, des prix anormalement bas, et des pratiques d’achat et de commande problématiques.

Une enquête sur la qualité des composants des pompes manuelles au Burkina Faso a été lancé début 2017. Des échantillons de la conduite principale montante et de la tige de la pompe ont été achetés auprès de fournisseurs à Ouagadougou, et d’autres échantillons provenaient de pompes en service ou abandonnées. Tous les échantillons ont été testés pour leur composition chimique. En 2019 des tests de composition chimique ont été réalisés sur l’ensemble de ces échantillons. L’analyse des résultats de ces tests révèle que : cinq des six colonnes d’exhaure et deux des quatre tringles ne sont pas conformes aux normes internationales de composition de l’acier inoxydable du grade indiqué. La faible teneur en nickel de ces échantillons signifie notamment que les pièces analysées ont en réalité une résistance à la corrosion moindre que celle qu’elles devraient avoir si elles étaient effectivement du grade indiqué.

Les 13 pièces composantes qui ont été testées dans le cadre de cette étude forment un trop petit échantillon pour s’avérer statistiquement représentatives de la situation du Burkina Faso dans son ensemble.  Cet échantillon corrobore toutefois les inquiétudes du Gouvernement et des foreurs. Il y a quelque chose qui ne va pas avec certains composants disponibles sur le marché, malgré le fait qu’ils soient vendus comme étant de l’acier inoxydable. L’ampleur du problème reste inconnue à ce stade au Burkina Faso ou dans d’autres pays. Comme le montre ce rapport publié par la Fondation Skat, le constat est celui d’un échec du « marché » à fournir systématiquement des matériaux de haute qualité. Afin de rectifier cette situation, il est nécessaire de trouver des solutions à la fois au sein des pays d’importation, comme le Burkina Faso, et au niveau international.

Cette étude rapide a révélé pour le Burkina Faso et au-delà une série d’enjeux interconnectés:

  1. Il est nécessaire de poursuivre les recherches sur l’utilisation des pièces composantes en acier inoxydable afin d’éviter la corrosion des pièces de PMH immergées dans des eaux souterraines agressives.
  2. La norme indienne pour les modèles India Mark II et III comprend quelques erreurs, et aucune option n’est proposée pour les cas d’eaux souterraines agressives. Les normes internationales (notamment celles publiées par SKAT/ Le Réseau pour l’Approvisionnmenet Rural en Eau-RWSN) portant sur les matériaux des pièces de PMH adaptés aux eaux souterraines agressives pourraient être améliorées.
  3. De nombreuses entreprises en Inde vendent des PMH et des pièces de modèles India Mark II et III. Les prix de vente pratiqués par certaines de ces entreprises sont si bas qu’il semble impossible que la qualité de ces pompes et pièces soit conforme aux normes internationales.
  4. Il n’existe aucun organisme international chargé de contrôler systématiquement la qualité des matériaux de PMH, et le rôle et l’activité du Bureau de Normalisation International à ce sujet ne sont pas clairs ni évidents.
  5. Lorsque les PMH sont achetées dans le pays où elles doivent être installées, la longue chaîne d’approvisionnement (souvent anonyme de surcroît du fait de la multiplicité des intermédiaires) fait qu’il n’existe pas ou peu de lien entre les fabricants (situés majoritairement en Inde) et les installateurs des PMH en question. De plus, l’absence de compilation systématique des problèmes rencontrés préalablement signifie que les agences, les entreprises et les ménages s’engagent dans l’installation de PMH sans saisir l’ampleur de ces soucis de qualité et ne s’en rendent compte que trop tard.
  6. De nombreuses PMH utilisées en Afrique sont importées d’Inde (et visiblement du Nigéria également), donc les efforts menés pour résoudre cet enjeu de garantie de qualité doivent absolument inclure l’Inde ainsi que plusieurs pays africains.
  7. L’intérêt des financeurs pour l’équipement des PMH est probablement actuellement au plus bas depuis 30 ans, il s’avère donc très difficile de mobiliser à grande échelle pour développer un processus de certification internationale ou financer davantage de recherches à ce sujet. Une telle initiative nécessiterait d’une part des investissements supplémentaires et d’autre part des engagements de long terme de la part des principales agences et des gouvernements qui financent et mettent en œuvre des programmes d’installation et d’entretien de PMH.

Nous espérons que cette courte étude attirera l’attention des gouvernements, des organismes de recherche et des agences internationales d’aide au développement et les incitera à travailler sur la résolution des problèmes pressants que sont la corrosion et la mauvaise qualité des pièces composantes des PMH. Si rien n’est fait la communauté mondiale de l’approvisionnement en eau, par négligence ou désintérêt, prive de fait les populations rurales du Burkina Faso et d’ailleurs des bénéfices d’un approvisionnement en eau élémentaire et fiable.

L’étude complète peut être téléchargée ici : Qualité et corrosion des pièces composantes des Pompes à Motricité Humaine au Burkina Faso et au-delà (anglais et français)

Crédit photo: Colonnes montantes corrodées photographiées au Burkina Faso dans le cadre de l’audit d’équipements d’approvisionnement en eau in situ. (Kerstin Danert)

 

 

Handpump corrosion and material quality: A challenge for Burkina Faso and globally

In Burkina Faso, concerns have been raised regarding the high number of handpump boreholes that have failed, or need to be rehabilitated within a relatively short time of their initial construction. Physical audits of handpump boreholes in 2013 and 2014 raise concerns over water quality, inappropriate handpump for deep water and non-conformant pumps. In more than one third of cases, the handpump boreholes will function poorly, or cease to function completely within a few years. It is estimated that investments of between FCFA 0.6 billion (€0.9 million) and FCFA 2.9 billion (€4.5 million) per year are lost due to the installation of poor quality handpumps and other aspects of the construction. In one year, over 130,000 people were provided a water supply service that is likely to break down within a few years.

Despite knowledge of handpump corrosion for over 30 years, it remains a problem in Burkina Faso, as governments and aid agencies have continued to install pumps manufactured with unsuitable materials, leading to high maintenance costs, pump failure and rejection of water sources due to poor water quality. Handpump corrosion is a major global problem which the WASH sector has so far, systemically failed to address, and which will impede the realisation of Sustainable Development Goal 6. Concerns cited by experts from a range of countries on the Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN) online discussion platforms include the following: inadequate quality of materials and components, lack of quality control, unrealistic (low) prices and problematic purchasing practices.

A renewed call to investigate the quality of handpump components in Burkina Faso was raised in early 2017. Samples of the rising main and pump rod were purchased from suppliers in Ouagadougou, and additional samples were from pumps in use or abandoned. All samples were tested for their chemical composition. Analysis showed that of the samples, five of six riser pipes, and two of four pump rods did not conform to international standards for the composition of stainless steel of the specified grade. In particular, the low nickel content means that the components have less corrosion resistance than they would if they were of the specified grade.

The small sample size of 13 components tested in this study is not a statistically representative of the situation in Burkina Faso as a whole but it verifies concerns raised by the Government and drillers themselves. Something is not right with some components available on the market, despite the fact that they are being sold as stainless steel. What we do not know is the extent of the problem, in Burkina Faso, or other countries. What is being witnessed, as documented in the new study published by Skat Foundation, is a failure of “the market” to guarantee high quality materials. Addressing this failure requires solutions from within importing countries, such as Burkina Faso, but also internationally.

This short study has shed light on a number of interconnected issues for Burkina Faso and beyond including:

  1. There is no international body systematically controlling handpump material quality.
  2. The need for further research on the use of stainless steel components to prevent the corrosion in aggressive groundwater is needed.
  3. Many of the handpumps used in Africa are imported from India (and apparently Nigeria too). There is often no connection between manufacture (primarily in India) and installation of the pump (in African countries). Agencies, companies or households installing handpumps are not aware of the extent, and scale of quality problems until it is too late.
  4. Donor interest in handpump hardware is arguably at its lowest in 30 years, and so galvanising interest to develop an international certification process or fund research is extremely difficult. Such an initiative would require not only investment, but also long-term commitment from the large agencies and governments that fund and implement programmes installing handpumps and their maintenance.

It is hoped that this short study will trigger interest by governments, and by research organisations, and international development agencies to explore ways to solve the problems of corrosion and poor quality handpump components. If this is not done, by inadvertent neglect, the global water supply community is arguably preventing rural populations in Burkina Faso and beyond from the benefits of a reliable, basic drinking water supply.

The full study is available for download here: Concerns about corrosion and the quality of handpump components in Burkina Faso and beyond (English and French).

Photo credit: Corroded rising mains being photographed as part of a physical audit of water facilitiesin Burkina Faso (Kerstin Danert).

 

Integrity risks in professional borehole drilling: preventing corruption paves the way to sustainable infrastructure

This is a guest RWSN blog by Justine Haag and Marian Ryan of the Water Integrity Network. 

Integrity risks can be high in professional borehole drilling projects, particularly the risk of corruption, but too often such risks are brushed over or not even acknowledged. Some of these risks have been discussed in previous blog posts. This blog discusses in more detail some of the reasons underlying the importance of addressing corruption in professional borehole drilling.

Corruption contributes to poor delivery of groundwater development projects and is a factor of the failure of  15–30% of newly built wells within one year of construction (UNICEF/Skat 2016).

The good news is that by acknowledging and addressing integrity risks from the earliest project stages, WASH managers in both government and NGOs can take steps to prevent these risks and ensure sustainable infrastructure.

Let’s be real: corruption adds up

Across the world, a great deal of money goes into the drilling of boreholes, At the local level, while it might appear at first glance that the money lost to corruption on small borehole drilling projects in rural or remote locations is limited, even insignificant, the impacts are certainly not. Corruption results not only in wasted money, but, all too often, in sub-standard delivery of projects. This, in turn, results in downstream social, economic and environmental impacts.

From a purely financial perspective, corruption in groundwater development projects may result in inflated costs which undermine the financial sustainability of the project. Equally, corruption in decision-making processes may result in technical choices that ignore community needs, disregarding the local socio-cultural or economic context.

It may also mean that already-limited funds are not used where they are most needed. In many cases corruption means those with power and influence can pay to get improved services, while the most vulnerable are left behind.

When local users don’t see the promised results or services from their duty bearers, mistrust may grow. This can complicate other interventions in the water and sanitation sectors. Poor service delivery may also mean that communities resort to informal systems which may offer lesser guarantees in terms of quality and safety.

Corruption in borehole drilling projects also undermines health and security. Private operators who benefit from favoritism may not be subject to regulations and oversight, resulting in poor-functioning and ultimately decaying, unsustainable infrastructure and water systems.

Ultimately, corruption can threaten food, water, and energy security, greatly impacting the poorest residents.

All project phases are vulnerable to corruption

Corruption can take place at a number of points in the project lifecycle.

The tendering process is well known for posing a high risk of corruption: project owners may demand or receive bribes for awarding bids. They may exclude bids for spurious reasons in order to favour particular bidders. Bidders may organize as cartels, manipulate prices, or block smaller bidders through intimidation. A previous blog post examined how these practices serve to deter experienced professional consultants and drilling contractors from the bidding process, threatening the quality and sustainability of project infrastructure.

But corruption risks exist throughout the project life-cycle:

  • Regulatory environment: Corruption can weaken the rules of the tendering process, and weaken sanctions for misconduct. Corruption in licensing can also improperly restrict who can drill and where. Corruption can also result in biases in who water is allocated to.
  • Planning: Corruption at the planning level may result in services being provided to certain groups and not to others.
  • Financial management: Corruption here can take the shape of falsified accounts in local budgets, or funds which are embezzled or allocated to “ghost” drilling sites or the villages of family or friends.
  • Project design: Corruption in project design can take the form of design specifications being rigged to favor certain companies, such as those with higher-capacity rigs.
  • Construction: Corruption in the construction phase can result in poor-quality work and/or the use of poor quality materials, the bribing of officials to ignore it, and fraudulent invoicing and documentation.
  • Post-construction: the post-construction operation and maintenance phase is critical in the delivery of sustainable and effective services. Corruption in the operation and maintenance of groundwater systems can, for example, include nepotism in the appointment of staff, and the appointment of poorly qualified consultants and contractors. Lack of community input into the well’s operation can allow such corruption to flourish.

Promoting integrity benefits the community – and all stakeholders

It is possible to prevent these dangers from taking hold by building barriers to corruption throughout the project life cycle and by promoting integrity and planning ahead to close gaps where corruption can arise.

Promoting integrity from the start adds value by fostering transparency, accountability, and participation among the project’s stakeholders. Just as corruption has a wide impact, promoting integrity and anti-corruption can support each stakeholder’s efforts across the value chain. When we anticipate and avoid corruption risks, we reduce the likelihood of failure of wells and water points, decaying infrastructure, and disrupted water services.

Where can I start?

Project owners and WASH managers in government institutions or NGOs can take advantage of existing tools to promote integrity and prevent corruption to help ensure successful, professional borehole drilling projects which result in sustainable infrastructure and benefit local communities.

RWSN’s Code of Practice for Cost Effective Boreholes emphasizes the role of greater professionalism in ensuring that projects achieve optimum value for money invested over the long term. The UNICEF Guidance Note on Professional Water Well Drilling is a valuable resource for following professional standards in borehole drilling, including costing, procurement and contracting, siting of wells, and supervision of water well drilling.

Key first steps:

  • Establish procedures for key risk areas like procurement and accounting, and make sure procedures are followed by providing training and support to all stakeholders (such as authorities, bidders, regulators, project monitors, utility accounting staff).
  • Clarify budgets and responsibilities, and ensure this information is easily available to the public.
  • Set up monitoring processes, for tendering, construction, and O&M. Social monitoring, including local users or stakeholders, can be particularly helpful and ensure more independence in the process.
  • Ensure institutional responsibility for long-term operations or properly functioning infrastructure over the entire lifecycle.
  • Consult water users and water-user associations in decision-making.

 

More tools:

Integrity pact : The Integrity Pacts help to ensure that contracting parties in a water project abstain from offering, accepting, or demanding bribes; monitor adherence to the contract and compliance with procurement legislation; and enable the placement of sanctions on any parties breaching the pact.

Integrity, Quality, and Compliance for Project Managers : This set of simple project management tools and templates helps improve project management and address common integrity issues from planning through operations, specifically in water-related programmes.

About the authors

Justine Haag coordinates WIN’s West Africa Programme and is in charge of the Capacity Development portfolio, ensuring the mainstreaming of water integrity tools and methodologies in the water sector at global, national, and local levels. She has over 10 years of international experience with water practitioners, working mainly on WASH and IWRM initiatives carried out with multilateral and bilateral aid organizations. She is keen to support participatory processes with a broad range of actors, following her conviction that institutional stakeholders and end users have common values and can reach consensus.

Marian Ryan is a freelance writer and editor specialized in health, international development, and water integrity. She collaborates regularly with the Water Integrity Network to write about and promote integrity Tools.

Photo credit: Joost Butenop, WIN photo competition 2009. Uncontrolled diversion of water from surrounding villages, Western Pakistan.Joost_Butenop

An opportunity to reflect on manual drilling – UNESCO Seminar in Madrid, 2019

It was 21 years ago that I was first confronted with manual drilling.  I had just started my PhD research at Cranfield University.  The idea was to develop a human operated rig that could break through harder (laterite) formation, test it in an African country, and have it adopted by the private sector… in three years.  Back then I could never have imagined that in 2019 (and in my mid-40’s), that I would join ten others for a seminar hosted in Madrid, Spain on the role of manual drilling to reach universal water access.

Looking back, the goals of the project were unrealistic, but we did not know that at the time, and research provides space for considerable learning. Oh, and by the way, digital cameras were very new on the market in 1998.  My colleague had one, which produced recognisable, but quite grainy images.

The UK Department for International Development (DFID) Knowledge and Research (KAR) funded research project, “Low Cost Drilling” took me to Uganda, and three years of field work in collaboration with the (now) Ministry of Water and Environment and district local governments in Mukono and Mpigi. Following initial trials in a field in the UK, UNICEF and the government enabled use of the rig to provide drinking water supplies within their joint drinking water programme (called WES).

We proved that the new technology (which we called the Pounder Rig) could work, but embedding it in Uganda proved to be beyond us within the three-year period. In the meantime, I had gone from standing in a hotel lobby to make calls to landlines and leaving messages for people who were not there, to having my first mobile phone. My photographs remained analogue; a digital camera being well out of financial reach at the time.

The PhD research process taught me so much, but let me try to stay close to the topic of manual drilling. The subject of innovation diffusion was opened up, and I came to learn that the successful adoption of any technology is brought about by much more than technical aspects (my PhD thesis provides insights into this in case you wish to be one of the very few people to read it).

Over the subsequent years, I was extremely fortunate to have the chance to keep on returning to the subject of manual drilling. The collaboration with UNICEF to follow-up their efforts to support manual drilling professionalization in several countries was a welcome opportunity, leading to not only the 2015 manual drilling compendium, but also more in-depth documentation of the status quo in Nigeria and Chad. In short, we documented that by 2015 manual drilling technologies had provided drinking water sources in at least 36 countries.

Manual Drilling

There are quite a few organisations introducing manual drilling technology, including private enterprises developing new markets; local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) with overseas funding; governments relying on foreign/local expertise as well as foreign companies and NGOs (including several faith-based organisations).

However, as I started to learn while in Uganda some 20 years ago, the diffusion of innovation has different phases.  Broadly speaking, there is the introduction phase, the uptake phase (also known as the valley of death, given that many technologies are not taken up), and the established phase. Mobile phones combined with digital cameras (aka SMART phones), that can enable you to make calls and take high resolution photographs are in the established phase.

Innovation Uptake (003)

Dr Pedro Martinez-Santos, the new UNESCO Chair in “Appropriate Technologies for Human Development” at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid chose the role of manual drilling technologies towards universal water access as the topic for the first seminar of the chair in April 2019.  I was privileged to be among the eleven people who attended the event. I thus had the opportunity to listen to, and learn from professionals talking of specific experiences in Nigeria, Senegal, the Demographic of Congo, Zambia and Guinea Bissau as well as more widely. It was also a chance to present my own experiences and reflections, and engage in open and fee dialogue.

Returning, after two decades, to an academic environment and reflecting on a topic that has engaged me ever since, is something that may only happen once in a lifetime! There is much that I could say about manual drilling, and even more to learn about, but I close this blog with three short messages:

  • Manual drilling is fully established in some countries and less so in others. Globally, a suite of technologies, when used in the right locations and with professional construction methods, can provide drinking water of good quality. Manual drilling undoubtedly has a significant role to play in reaching the Sustainable Development Goal Targets for Drinking Water, especially in remote areas, but also in rapidly growing urban centres where piped supplies are failing to provide reliable services.
  • Manual drilling is not just about technology but also: the businesses that invest; the drillers (male and female) that need be able to work professionally; the data that can be collected; and the question of whether some people are left behind while others tap the water from their back yards. And there is the regulation (alongside other innovations) needed ensure that the sources are, and remain safe to drink, tapping sustainable groundwater resources.
  • I close by urging not only governments, but also development partners to consider manual drilling, and manual drillers in policies, legislation, investments and capacity strengthening efforts rather than leaving it on the margins. As we experienced in Madrid in April, engage in real dialogue and listening with the different actors involved. The rewards may even be beyond your expectations!

You can download all the presentations from the Madrid seminar from here.

RWSN has collated information on manual drilling technologies and associated wider issues here.

Understanding the invisible: Uganda’s efforts to increase access to detailed groundwater data

This is the second in a series of four blogs entitled Professional Borehole Drilling: Learning from Uganda written by Elisabeth Liddle, and a RWSN webinar in 2019 about professional borehole drilling. It draws on research in Uganda by Liddle and Fenner (2018). We welcome your thoughts in reply to this blog below. [Note: The original blog was revised on 03 April 2019 to correct an inaccurate representation of the situation].

While access to improved water sources has steadily increased across rural sub-Saharan Africa, several studies have raised concerns over the extent to which these sources are able to provide safe and adequate quantities of water over the long term (Foster et al., 2018; Kebede et al., 2017; Owor et al., 2017; Adank et al., 2014). Borehole design and siting are essential to ensure that the subsequent water point will continue to provide safe and adequate quantities of water. Access to detailed and accurate groundwater information can greatly aid siting and borehole design (UNICEF/Skat, 2016; Carter et al., 2014).

Skat Foundation and UNICEF have been key advocates for increasing access to detailed groundwater data including the recent guidance note which pointed out that ‘groundwater information’ is essential when seeking to improve the quality of borehole implementation in low- and middle-income countries (see Figure 1; UNICEF/Skat, 2016). In this blog I provide some insights into the ways in which Uganda has sought to increase access to groundwater data is recent years.

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Fig. 1: Six areas of engagement for increasing drilling professionalism (Skat/UNICEF, 2016).

Groundwater resource mapping in Uganda

Significant steps have been taken in recent years to increase access to detailed groundwater data in Uganda. Much of this began in 2000 when the Directorate of Water Resources and Management (DWRM) within the Ministry of Water and the Environment (MWE) began a nationwide groundwater mapping project. Using data sourced from the borehole completion reports that drilling contractors are required to submit every quarter, DWRM has developed are series of maps for each district. These include:

  1. Water source location map, underlain by a geology map.
  2. Recommended water source technology map (technology recommendation is based on main water strike depth and yield information).
  3. Hydrogeological condition map – includes 4 sub-maps:
    • inferred first water strike depth[1],
    • inferred main water strike depth[2],
    • inferred thickness of overburden[3], and
    • inferred static water level depth[4].
  4. Groundwater quality map: highlights areas where water quality is expected to be problematic.
  5. Groundwater potential – Drilling success rate map: combines expected yield success rate[5] coupled with expected water quality conditions.

Tindimugaya (2004) explains these maps in greater detail, along with the ways in which such maps can help the implementation process. An example of these maps for Kibaale district is available on the MWE’s website.

This mapping work is ongoing, however, by May 2017 DWRM had mapped 85% of Uganda’s districts. The magnitude of these maps and the level of detail they capture is remarkable. These maps have become a great asset for district local governments, non-governmental organisations, and others responsible for water point siting and construction.

Ongoing challenges

While Uganda has made remarkable progress in recent years with their groundwater mapping efforts, there have been several challenges along the way (Liddle and Fenner, 2018), mostly related to data accuracy. When interviewing those in Uganda for this research, there were reports that in some (but not all) cases, inaccurate data is submitted. When looking at why inaccurate data is sometimes submitted, two key issues were noted:

  1. There often isn’t a qualified consultant on site full-time for drilling supervision. While it is the drilling contractor’s responsibility to have a member of staff recording the drilling log, an independent supervisor should also keep a log and check the driller’s log for accuracy before this is submitted to DWRM. Without full-time supervision, however, this cannot happen. Furthermore, even with full-time supervision, if the supervisor is not a hydrogeologist, it is unlikely that they will be keeping accurate and detailed logs.
  2. The lump sum no-water-no-pay payment terms via which Ugandan drillers are often paid (see blog “Turnkey contracts for borehole siting and drilling”). When these contract terms are used, to be paid, drillers need to prove that they have drilled a successful borehole; as a result, there were reports of drillers exaggerating a given borehole’s yield in order to be paid. Skewing data in this way is concerning, as not only will these boreholes struggle to provide adequate quantities of water post-construction, but this high-yield data is then entered into the drilling log database and used to produce the hydrogeological maps. Increasing the quality of drilling supervision and ensuring data is not skewed in this way is essential if the accuracy of DWRM’s maps is to increase going forward.

Overall, Uganda has made remarkable progress over the past two decades in increasing the level of groundwater information available in-country. There are very few examples in the African continent comparable to what Uganda has achieved! As noted above, the resultant maps have become a great asset for district local governments, non-governmental organisations, and others responsible for water point siting and construction.

Increasing the accuracy of borehole completion reports is an essential next steps for Uganda. Furthermore, other countries should be aware of these challenges as they embark on their own mapping exercises and ensure necessary measures are in place to prevent these problems in their own contexts.

What do you think?

So what do you think? Do you have experiences of collecting and collating groundwater data, or using groundwater maps? Is this something that should be started in your country? You can respond below by posting in the reply below, or you can join the live webinar on the 14th of May (register here).

[1]‘Expected first water strike depth’ = the depth at which a driller is likely to first encounter groundwater. In most cases the driller will need to continue drilling past this point if the borehole is to be able to provide sufficient quantities of water for users.

[2] ‘Expected main water strike depth’ = the depth at which a driller is likely to find the main aquifer that will be able to provide sufficient quantities of water for users.

[3] Overburden refers to the unconsolidated material that overlays the bedrock. The ‘expected overburden thickness’ map highlights the expected depth of this unconsolidated material across Uganda.

[4] ‘Expected static water level’ = the expected groundwater depth without any pumping disturbance.

[5] ‘Yield success’ refers to a borehole being able to sustain a pumping rate of 500 litres/hour. If a borehole can sustain this pumping rate, it is considered successful in regards to yield.

References

Adank, M., Kumasi, T.C., Chimbar, T.L., Atengdem, J., Agbemor, B.D., Dickinson, N., and Abbey, E. (2014). The state of handpump water services in Ghana: Findings from three districts, 37th WEDC International Conference, Hanoi, Vietnam, 2014, Available from https://wedc-knowledge.lboro.ac.uk/resources/conference/37/Adank-1976.pdf

Carter, R., Chilton, J., Danert, K. & Olschewski, A. (2014) Siting of Drilled Water Wells – A Guide for Project Managers. RWSN Publication 2014-11 , RWSN , St Gallen, Switzerland, Available from http://www.rural-water-supply.net/en/resources/details/187

Foster, T., Willetts, J., Lane, M. Thomson, P. Katuva, J., and Hope, R. (2018). Risk factors associated with rural water supply failure: A 30-year retrospective study of handpumps on the south coast of Kenya. Science of the Total Environment,, 626, 156-164, Available from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969717337324

Kebede, S., MacDonald, A.M., Bonsor, H.C, Dessie, N., Yehualaeshet, T., Wolde, G., Wilson, P., Whaley, L., and Lark, R.M. (2017). UPGro Hidden Crisis Research Consortium: unravelling past failures for future success in Rural Water Supply. Survey 1 Results, Country Report Ethiopia. Nottingham, UK: BGS (OR/17/024), Available from https://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/516998/

Liddle, E.S. and Fenner, R.A. (2018). Review of handpump-borehole implementation in Uganda. Nottingham, UK: BGS (OR/18/002), Available from https://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/520591/

Owor, M., MacDonald, A.M., Bonsor, H.C., Okullo, J., Katusiime, F., Alupo, G., Berochan, G., Tumusiime, C., Lapworth, D., Whaley, L., and Lark, R.M. (2017). UPGro Hidden Crisis Research Consortium. Survey 1 Country Report, Uganda. Nottingham, UK: BGS (OR/17/029), Available from https://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/518403/

Tindimugaya, C. (2004). Groundwater mapping and its implications for rural water supply coverage in Uganda. 30th WEDC International Conference, Vientiane, Lao PDR, 2004. Available from https://wedc-knowledge.lboro.ac.uk/resources/conference/30/Tindimugaya.pdf

UNICEF/Skat (2016). Professional water well drilling: A UNICEF guidance note. St Gallen, Switzerland: Skat and UNICEF. Available from http://www.rural-water-supply.net/en/resources/details/775

Acknowledgements

This work is part of the Hidden Crisis project within the UPGro research programme – co-funded by NERC, DFID, and ESRC.

The fieldwork undertaken for this report is part of the authors PhD research at the University of Cambridge, under the supervision of Professor Richard Fenner. This fieldwork was funded by the Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund and UPGro: Hidden Crisis.

Thank you to those of you from Makerere University and WaterAid Uganda who provided logistical and field support while I was conducting the interviews for this report (especially Dr Michael Owor, Felece Katusiime, and Joseph Okullo from Makerere University and Gloria Berochan from WaterAid Uganda). Thank you also to all of the respondents for being eager and willing to participate in this research.

Photo: “Groundwater Supply Technology Options map on display in the Kayunga District Water Office” (Source: Elisabeth Liddle).

Comprendre l’invisible: les efforts de l’Ouganda pour améliorer l’accès aux données détaillées sur les eaux souterraines

Il s’agit du second d’une série de quatre blogs intitulée ‘Le forage professionnel de puits d’eau: Apprendre de l’Ouganda” de Elisabeth Liddle et d’un webinaire en 2019 sur le forage de puits professionnel. Cette série s’appuie sur les recherches menées en Ouganda par Liddle et Fenner (2018). Nous vous invitons à nous faire part de vos commentaires en réponse à ce blog ci-dessous. [Note : Le blog original a été révisé le 3 avril 2019 pour corriger une représentation inexacte de la situation].

Si l’accès à des sources d’eau améliorées a augmenté de manière progressive dans l’ensemble de l’Afrique subsaharienne rurale, plusieurs études ont soulevé des problèmes concernant la capacité de ces sources à fournir des quantités d’eau sûres et adéquates à long terme (Foster et al., 2018 ; Kebede et al., 2017 ; Owor et al., 2017 ; Adank et al., 2014). La conception et l’emplacement des forages sont essentiels à ce que le point d’eau continue à fournir des quantités d’eau sûres et adéquates. L’accès à des informations détaillées et précises sur les eaux souterraines peut grandement faciliter le choix du site et la conception des forages (UNICEF/Skat, 2016 ; Carter et al., 2014).

La Fondation Skat et l’UNICEF ont été les principaux défenseurs d’un accès plus répandu à des données détaillées sur les eaux souterraines, y compris la récente note d’orientation qui souligne que “l’information sur les eaux souterraines” est essentielle à l’amélioration de la qualité de la mise en œuvre des forages dans les pays à revenus faible et intermédiaire (voir Figure 1 ; UNICEF/Skat, 2016). Dans ce blog, je donne un aperçu de la manière dont l’Ouganda a cherché à améliorer l’accès aux données sur les eaux souterraines ces dernières années.

Screen Shot 2019-04-01 at 4.58.03 PMScreen Shot 2019-04-01 at 4.57.43 PM

Fig. 1: Six domaines d’engagement pour l’exploitation professionnelle des eaux souterraines (Skat/ UNICEF, 2018)

La cartographie des ressources en eaux souterraines en Ouganda

Des mesures importantes ont été prises ces dernières années pour améliorer l’accès aux données détaillées sur les eaux souterraines en Ouganda. La plupart de ces activités ont débuté en 2000 lorsque la Direction de la gestion des ressources en eau du Ministère de l’eau et de l’environnement a lancé un projet de cartographie des eaux souterraines à l’échelle nationale. À l’aide de données tirées des rapports d’achèvement des forages que les entrepreneurs de forage doivent soumettre chaque trimestre, la Direction de la gestion des ressources en eau a élaboré une série de cartes pour chaque district. Il s’agit notamment des cartes suivantes :

  1. Carte de localisation des sources d’eau, avec carte géologique à l’appui.
  2. Carte des technologies recommandées par source d’eau (la recommandation de la technologie se base sur la profondeur de l’impact de l’aquifère principal et les données sur le rendement).
  3. Carte des conditions hydrogéologiques – elle comprend 4 sous-cartes : Profondeur présumée du premier impact avec l’eau[1],  la profondeur présumée de l’impact avec l’aquifère principal[2], l’épaisseur présumée des morts-terrains[3], etla profondeur statique présumée du niveau d’eau[4].
  4. Carte de la qualité des eaux souterraines : celle-ci met en évidence les zones où la qualité de l’eau pourrait poser problème.
  5. Potentiel des eaux souterraines – Carte du taux de réussite du forage : combine le taux de réussite prévu du rendement [5] et les conditions prévues de la qualité de l’eau.

Tindimugaya (2004) donne plus de détails sur ces cartes, ainsi que les façons dont elles peuvent faciliter le processus de mise en œuvre. Un exemple de cartes pour le district de Kibaale est disponible sur le site Web du Ministère de l’Eau et de l’Environnement.

Ce travail de cartographie est en cours, cependant, en mai 2017, la Direction de la gestion des ressources en eau avait cartographié 85% des districts de l’Ouganda. L’ampleur de ces cartes et le niveau de détail qu’elles contiennent sont remarquables. Ces cartes ont rendu service aux collectivités locales de district, aux organisations non gouvernementales et  autres responsables de l’implantation et de la construction des points d’eau.

Des défis persistents

Bien que l’Ouganda ait fait des progrès remarquables au cours des dernières années grâce à ses efforts de cartographie des eaux souterraines, plusieurs défis persistent (Liddle et Fenner, 2018), liés pour la plupart à l’exactitude des données. Lors d’entretiens avec les personnes interrogées en Ouganda dans le cadre de nos recherches, on nous a signalé que dans certains cas (mais pas tous), des données inexactes ont été fournies. Lorsqu’on examine les raisons pour lesquelles des données inexactes sont parfois fournies aux autorités, deux poins clés ont été relevés :

  1. Souvent, il n’y a pas de consultant qualifié sur place à temps plein pour la supervision du forage. Bien qu’il incombe à l’entrepreneur de forage de faire consigner le journal de forage par un membre du personnel, un superviseur indépendant devrait également tenir un journal et vérifier l’exactitude du journal du foreur avant de le soumettre à la Direction de la gestion des ressources en eau. Cependant, sans supervision à temps plein, cela n’est pas possible. De plus, même avec une supervision à temps plein, si le superviseur n’est pas un hydrogéologue, il est peu probable qu’il tiendra des registres précis et détaillés.
  2. Les conditions de paiement forfaitaires “pas d’eau, pas de paiement”, selon lesquelles les foreurs ougandais sont souvent payés (voir le blog “Contrats clés en main pour l’implantation et le forage des puits d’eau“). Ces modalités de paiement exigent des foreurs qu’ils prouvent qu’ils aient foré avec succès un point d’eau pour être payés; par conséquent, certains foreurs auraient exagéré le rendement d’un forage donné afin d’être payés. Les données faussées ainsi obtenues sont préoccupantes, car non seulement ces forages auront du mal à fournir des quantités adéquates d’eau après construction, mais les données liées à leur haut rendement sont ensuite saisies dans la base de données des journaux de forage et utilisées pour produire les cartes hydrogéologiques. Il est essentiel d’améliorer la qualité de la supervision des forages et de veiller à ce que les données ne soient pas faussées de cette façon si l’on veut que les cartes de la Direction de la gestion des ressources en eau soient plus précises à l’avenir.

Dans l’ensemble, l’Ouganda a fait des progrès remarquables au cours des deux dernières décennies en augmentant le niveau d’information sur les eaux souterraines disponible dans le pays. Il y a très peu d’exemples sur le continent africain comparables à ce que l’Ouganda a accompli ! Comme indiqué plus haut, les cartes qui en résultent représentent un grand avantage pour les autorités locales de district, les organisations non gouvernementales et les autres responsables de l’implantation et de la construction des points d’eau.

Il est essentiel pour l’Ouganda d’améliorer la précision des rapports d’achèvement des forages. En outre, d’autres pays pourront prendre conscience de ces défis lorsqu’ils entreprennent leurs propres exercices de cartographie et veiller à ce que les mesures nécessaires soient en place pour prévenir ces problèmes dans leur contexte.

Qu’en pensez-vous?

 Alors, qu’en pensez-vous? Avez-vous de l’expérience en matière de collecte ou gestion de données sur les eaux souterraines? Cela devrait-il être entrepris dans votre pays? Vous pouvez répondre ci-dessous en postant un commentaire, ou vous pouvez participer au webinaire en direct le 14 mai (inscriptions ici)

[1] Profondeur présumée du premier impact avec l’eau : la profondeur à laquelle un foreur est susceptible de rencontrer des eaux souterraines pour la première fois. Dans la plupart des cas, le foreur devra poursuivre le forage au-delà de ce point pour que le trou de forage puisse fournir suffisamment d’eau aux utilisateurs.

[2] Profondeur présumée de l’impact avec l’aquifère principal : la profondeur à laquelle un foreur est susceptible de trouver l’aquifère principal qui sera en mesure de fournir des quantités suffisantes d’eau aux utilisateuCarte de la qualité des eaux souterraines : celle-ci met en évidence les zones où la qualité de l’eau pourrait poser problème.

[3] Les morts-terrains désignent les matériaux non consolidés qui recouvrent le substratum rocheux. La carte de l’épaisseur prévue des morts-terrains met en évidence la profondeur prévue des matériaux non consolidé dans l’ensemble de l’Ouganda.

[4] Profondeur statique présumée du niveau d’eau = la profondeur d’eau souterraine attendue sans perturbation de pompage.

[5]   Le ” taux de réussite du rendement ” fait référence à un forage capable de supporter un débit de pompage de 500 litres/heure. Si un forage peut maintenir ce taux de pompage, il est considéré comme une réussite en ce qui concerne le rendement.

Références

Adank, M., Kumasi, T.C., Chimbar, T.L., Atengdem, J., Agbemor, B.D., Dickinson, N., and Abbey, E. (2014). The state of handpump water services in Ghana: Findings from three districts, 37th WEDC International Conference, Hanoi, Vietnam, 2014, Available from https://wedc-knowledge.lboro.ac.uk/resources/conference/37/Adank-1976.pdf

Carter, R., Chilton, J., Danert, K. & Olschewski, A. (2014) Siting of Drilled Water Wells – A Guide for Project Managers. RWSN Publication 2014-11 , RWSN , St Gallen, Switzerland, Available from http://www.rural-water-supply.net/en/resources/details/187

Foster, T., Willetts, J., Lane, M. Thomson, P. Katuva, J., and Hope, R. (2018). Risk factors associated with rural water supply failure: A 30-year retrospective study of handpumps on the south coast of Kenya. Science of the Total Environment,, 626, 156-164, Available from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969717337324

Kebede, S., MacDonald, A.M., Bonsor, H.C, Dessie, N., Yehualaeshet, T., Wolde, G., Wilson, P., Whaley, L., and Lark, R.M. (2017). UPGro Hidden Crisis Research Consortium: unravelling past failures for future success in Rural Water Supply. Survey 1 Results, Country Report Ethiopia. Nottingham, UK: BGS (OR/17/024), Available from https://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/516998/

Liddle, E.S. and Fenner, R.A. (2018). Review of handpump-borehole implementation in Uganda. Nottingham, UK: BGS (OR/18/002), Available from https://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/520591/

Owor, M., MacDonald, A.M., Bonsor, H.C., Okullo, J., Katusiime, F., Alupo, G., Berochan, G., Tumusiime, C., Lapworth, D., Whaley, L., and Lark, R.M. (2017). UPGro Hidden Crisis Research Consortium. Survey 1 Country Report, Uganda. Nottingham, UK: BGS (OR/17/029), Available from https://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/518403/

Tindimugaya, C. (2004). Groundwater mapping and its implications for rural water supply coverage in Uganda. 30th WEDC International Conference, Vientiane, Lao PDR, 2004. Available from https://wedc-knowledge.lboro.ac.uk/resources/conference/30/Tindimugaya.pdf

UNICEF/Skat (2016). Professional water well drilling: A UNICEF guidance note. St Gallen, Switzerland: Skat and UNICEF. Available from http://www.rural-water-supply.net/en/resources/details/775

Remerciements

Ce travail fait partie du projet Hidden Crisis du programme de recherche UPGro – cofinancé par le NERC, le DFID et l’ESRC.

Le travail de terrain entrepris pour ce rapport fait partie de la recherche doctorale des auteurs à l’Université de Cambridge, sous la supervision du Professeur Richard Fenner. Ce travail sur le terrain a été financé par le Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund et UPGro : Hidden Crisis.

Merci à ceux d’entre vous de l’Université de Makerere et de WaterAid Ouganda qui m’ont apporté un soutien logistique, y compris sur le terrain, pendant que je menais les entretiens pour ce rapport (en particulier le Dr Michael Owor, Felece Katusiime et Joseph Okullo de l’Université Makerere et Gloria Berochan de WaterAid Uganda). Merci également à tous les répondants d’avoir été enthousiastes et disposés à participer à cette recherche.

Photo: “Carte des technologies recommandées par source d’eau souterraine dans la division Eau du bureau du district de Kayunga” (Source: Elisabeth Liddle).

 

 

 

 

 

Turnkey contracts for borehole siting and drilling

This is the first in a series of four blogs entitled Professional Borehole Drilling: Learning from Uganda written by Elisabeth Liddle, and a RWSN webinar in 2019 about professional borehole drilling. It draws on research in Uganda by Liddle and Fenner (2018). We welcome your thoughts in reply to this blog below.

Drilling under a ‘turnkey contract’ has become increasingly common across sub-Saharan Africa. Recent research in Uganda by Liddle and Fenner (2018) found turnkey contracts to be the most common contract type when the private sector provides new rural handpump-boreholes, although this has not always been the case. In this blog we provide an overview of what turkey contracts are, why they are being used in Uganda, and the benefits and challenges associated with their use in Uganda.

What is a turnkey contract they and why are they being used in Uganda?

Under a turnkey contract a drilling contractor is responsible for both the siting and the drilling/installation work. Turnkey contracts are paid via ‘lump sum no-water-no-pay’ payment terms. If the borehole is successful, the driller will be paid the full lump sum price, regardless of the costs incurred on-site. If, however, the borehole is unsuccessful (dry or low-yielding), the driller will not be paid at all.

Turnkey contracts rose to prominence in Uganda in the mid-2000s as implementing agencies (District Local Governments and Non-Governmental Organisations) became increasingly frustrated with the number of unsuccessful boreholes that were being drilled when consultants were conducting the siting work. Because the consultant was telling the driller where to drill, if the borehole was unsuccessful, the implementing agency had to pay the driller for all the work done and materials used, i.e. according to a Bill of Quantities (BoQ). Unsuccessful boreholes were blamed on the quality of the consultants’ siting work, with briefcase consultants (meaning those with no formal geology or hydrogeology training) having flooded the market. Because of the low prices they offered, coupled with a lack of regulation, these consultants were gaining siting contracts.

Paying for unsuccessful boreholes was challenging and it was becoming difficult for District Local Governments to meet their targets for new safe water sources. Project managers were being made to look inept. Moreover, political leaders failed to understand that some unsuccessful boreholes were a common part of drilling, hence, if a driller was paid for an unsuccessful borehole, politicians saw this as corrupt. Some district water officers were even threatened with jail.

The solution found was to remove the consultant and hand over all of the responsibility for finding water to the driller. If the driller then drilled an unsuccessful borehole, they would not be paid as they were the ones responsible for siting the borehole. The risk of finding water of an inadequate yield fell squarely on the driller.

Benefits and challenges of turnkey contract use

Turnkey contracts have greatly simplified the procurement and contract management process for project managers in Uganda. Under turnkey contracts, implementing agencies only need to procure and manage a drilling contractor. Furthermore, as the amount the drilling contractor will be paid if the borehole is successful is determined during the tender process, there are no surprise costs for the implementing agency. Additionally, under the no water, no pay payment terms, agencies do not have to directly spend any money on unsuccessful boreholes; money is only being spent on boreholes that are declared successful.

While turnkey contracts have notable benefits, several concerns were raised among those interviewed in Uganda as to the quality of the work:

  • Siting based on ease of finding water: under turnkey contracts, drilling contractors need to find sufficient water in order to be paid. Consequently, it was widely reported that drilling contractors are siting boreholes where it is easy to find water, for example, in valleys, or near swamps or riverbanks. Not only are drilling contractors extremely likely to find water in these areas, hence be paid, but they will often drill to a much shallower depths than their lump sum cost estimate was based on. A greater margin can therefore be made in these areas. Boreholes situated in such areas, however, are vulnerable to pollution. While a borehole may pass water quality tests immediately after drilling, the water may be unsafe for human consumption in the rainy months as surface pollutant transport and leaching rates increase or in several years’ time as pollutants accumulate in these areas. Furthermore, community access may be limited, especially in rainy months when these areas may be vulnerable to flooding.
  • Short-cuts on-site: under no-water-no-pay payment terms, drilling contractors need to save money wherever possible so they can recover the losses that they make on unsuccessful boreholes. To save money, it was reported that certain drilling contractors in Uganda are known for:
  • Using low quality and/or hydrogeologically inappropriate materials, for example, galvanised iron rising mains rather than stainless steel in acidic groundwaters. Galvanised iron rising mains are 4-5 times cheaper than stainless steel. When galvanised iron rising mains are used in acidic groundwaters (which are common in Uganda), red/brown coloured water, unfit for human consumption is extremely likely (Casey et al., 2016).
  • Using inappropriate materials for the borehole design, for example, using 5″ casing when a 6/6.5″ open-hole borehole[1] has been drilled as 5″ casing is cheaper than 6/6.5″. To prevent the 5″ casing from falling into the 6/6.5″ open-hole, drilling contractors heat the base and stretch this to fit on top of the open area. 42% of drilling contractors interviewed (n = 14) admitted to this practice. While some see this as a clever trick, others were concerned that silt will accumulate in these boreholes over time, due to gaps between the casing and the consolidated rock and/or cracks that form in the thinly stretched areas of the casing. Such siltation will not only wear the handpump parts down, but it may also lead to appearance problems from the users’ perspective as this silt enters the water supply.
  • Stopping drilling at the first water strike. A great deal of money can be saved here; in Ethiopia, for example, drilling to 50 metres instead of 60 metres reduces the drilling cost by 13% (Calow et al., 2012). If the borehole does not penetrate the main aquifer, however, the quantity of water available post-construction may be problematic, even if the borehole passes the pumping test.
  • Skewing the pump test data or cutting the pump test time short to mask low-yielding, unsuccessful sites. These boreholes will inevitably be low-yielding post-construction, or in worst case, dry.

The need for drilling contractors to take the above shortcuts in Uganda is exacerbated by the fact that, in many cases, the lump sum contractors are paid for drilling a successful borehole is too low in the first instance. Furthermore, supervision by a trained hydrogeologist is rare.

Where to from here for turnkey contracts?

Opinions on whether turnkey contracts should continue to be used in Uganda differ among different actors: the majority of implementing agencies in Uganda believe the use of turnkey contracts should continue, while consultants and the Ministry of Water and the Environment (MWE) believe that they should cease, given the quality of work concerns outlined above.

MWE went so far to release a directive in January 2017 discouraging the use of turnkey contracts, instead stating that split contracts, one for siting (awarded to a hydrogeologist/consultant) and one for drilling/installation (awarded to a drilling contractor) be used going forward. Opinions among drilling contractors themselves seemed impartial; most do not mind working under turnkey contracts, they simply ask that the lump sum prices implementing agencies are willing to pay for successful boreholes increase in the future so they are not forced to take shortcuts on-site.

What do you think?

So what do you think? Do you have experiences of turnkey contracts for borehole drilling, or other practices that you would like to share. You can respond below by posting in the reply below, or you can join the live webinar on the 14th of May (register here).

References

Calow, R., MacDonald, A., and Cross, P. (2012). Corruption in rural water supply in Ethiopia. In J. Plummer (Ed.), Diagnosing Corruption in Ethiopia: Perceptions, realities and the way forward for key sectors (pp 121-179). Washington DC, USA: World Bank. Available from https://www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-files/8555.pdf

Casey, V., Brown, L., Carpenter, J.D., Nekesa, J., and Etti, B. (2016). The role of handpump corrosion in the contamination and failure of rural water supplies. Waterlines, 35(1), 59-77. Available from https://www.developmentbookshelf.com/doi/full/10.3362/1756-3488.2016.006

Liddle, E.S. and Fenner, R.A. (2018). Review of handpump-borehole implementation in Uganda, Nottingham, UK: BGS (OR/18/002). Available from https://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/520591/

[1] Boreholes may be ‘fully-cased’ or ‘open-hole’. If a borehole is ‘fully-cased’ the entire vertical is cased, with screens in the water bearing layers. If the borehole is ‘open-hole’, however, only the unconsolidated areas of the vertical borehole are cased – the remaining consolidated rock is left ‘open’ (no casing or screens).

Acknowledgements

This work is part of the Hidden Crisis project within the UPGro research programme – co-funded by NERC, DFID, and ESRC.

The fieldwork undertaken for this report is part of the authors PhD research at the University of Cambridge, under the supervision of Professor Richard Fenner. This fieldwork was funded by the Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund and UPGro: Hidden Crisis.

Thank you to those of you from Makerere University and WaterAid Uganda who provided logistical and field support while I was conducting the interviews for this report (especially Dr Michael Owor, Felece Katusiime, and Joseph Okullo from Makerere University and Gloria Berochan from WaterAid Uganda). Thank you also to all of the respondents for being eager and willing to participate in this research.

Photo: “Hidden Crisis team members using a CCTV camera to undertake downhole observations of the borehole construction of a community borehole” (Source: ‘BGS © NERC. UPGro Hidden Crisis Project.’)

Les contrats clés en main pour l’implantation et le forage de puits d’eau

Il s’agit du premier d’une série de quatre blogs intitulée ‘Le forage professionnel de puits d’eau: Apprendre de l’Ouganda” de Elisabeth Liddle et d’un webinaire en 2019 sur le forage de puits professionnel. Cette série s’appuie sur les recherches menées en Ouganda par Liddle et Fenner (2018). Nous vous invitons à nous faire part de vos commentaires en réponse à ce blog ci-dessous.

Les forages réalisés dans le cadre d’un “contrat clé en main ” sont devenus de plus en plus courants dans toute l’Afrique subsaharienne. Des recherches récentes menées en Ouganda par Liddle et Fenner (2018) ont montré que les contrats clés en main sont le type de contrat le plus courant lorsque le secteur privé fournit de nouveaux forages pour des pompes manuelles en milieu rural, bien que cela n’ait pas toujours été le cas. Dans ce blog, nous donnons un aperçu de ce que sont les contrats clé en main, pourquoi ils sont utilisés en Ouganda, et les avantages et les défis associés à leur utilisation en Ouganda.

Qu’est-ce qu’un contrat clé en main et pourquoi ces contrats sont-ils utilisés en Ouganda ?

Dans le cadre d’un contrat clé en main, un entrepreneur en forage est responsable à la fois de l’implantation et des travaux de forage et d’installation. Les contrats clés en main sont payés par le biais de modalités de paiement au forfait, c’est-à-dire “pas d’eau, pas de paiement “. Si le forage est fructueux, le foreur recevra la totalité du prix au forfait, quels que soient les coûts engagés sur place. Toutefois, si le forage est infructueux (forage à sec ou à faible rendement), le foreur ne sera pas payé du tout.

Les contrats clés en main ont pris de l’importance en Ouganda au milieu des années 2000 lorsque les agences d’exécution (autorités locales de district et Organisations Non Gouvernementales) devenaient de plus en plus frustrées par le nombre de forages infructueux réalisés lorsque les consultants effectuaient les travaux d’implantation de forages. Comme le consultant indiquait au foreur l’endroit où forer, si le forage échouait, l’agence de mise en œuvre devait payer le foreur pour tous les travaux effectués et les matériaux utilisés, c’est-à-dire selon un cahier des charges. L’échec des forages était imputé à la qualité du travail d’implantation des consultants ; de fait, les « consultants à mallette » (c’est-à-dire ceux qui n’avaient pas de formation officielle en géologie ou en hydrogéologie) avaient inondé le marché. En raison des bas prix qu’ils offraient et de l’absence de réglementation, ces consultants parvenaient à remporter des contrats d’implantation de forage.

Payer pour des forages infructueux était donc un problème, et il était devenu difficile pour les autorités locales de district d’atteindre leurs objectifs en matière de nouvelles sources d’eau potable. Les chefs de projet passaient pour incompétents. De plus, les responsables politiques ne comprenaient pas qu’un nombre de forages infructueux faisait partie intégrante du travail de forage ; par conséquent, si un foreur était payé pour un forage infructueux, les responsables politiques le considéraient comme corrompu. Certains responsables des services de l’eau au niveau du district ont même été menacés de prison.

La solution trouvée a été de retirer le consultant et de confier toute la responsabilité de la recherche de l’eau au foreur. Si le foreur forait alors un puits infructueux, il ne serait pas payé, car c’est lui qui était responsable de l’implantation du trou de forage. Le foreur prenait également tous les risques associés à un rendement d’eau inadéquat.

Avantages et défis de l’utilisation de contrats clés en main

Les contrats clés en main ont grandement simplifié le processus de passation de marché et de gestion de contrat pour les responsables de projets en Ouganda. Dans le cadre de contrats clés en main, les maitres d’ouvrage n’ont qu’à sélectionner et gérer un entrepreneur en forage. En outre, étant donné que le montant payé à l’entrepreneur si le forage est fructueux est déterminé au cours du processus d’appel d’offres, il n’y a pas de coûts imprévus pour le maitre d’ouvrage. De plus, en vertu des modalités de paiement « pas d’eau, pas de paiement », les organismes n’ont pas à dépenser directement de l’argent pour des forages infructueux ; l’argent n’est dépensé que pour des forages qui sont déclarés fructueux.

Bien que les contrats clés en main présentent des avantages notables, les chercheurs se sont entretenus avec plusieurs personnes en Ouganda qui se sont dites préoccupées par la qualité du travail :

  • Le choix du site est fonction de la facilité à trouver de l’eau: Dans le cadre de contrats clés en main, les entrepreneurs de forage doivent trouver suffisamment d’eau pour être payés. De multiples entretiens ont confirmé que les entrepreneurs en forage forent des puits là où il semble plus facile de trouver de l’eau, par exemple dans les vallées ou près des marécages ou des rivières. Non seulement les entrepreneurs de forage sont extrêmement susceptibles de trouver de l’eau dans ces zones, donc d’être payés, mais ils forent souvent à des profondeurs beaucoup moins profondes que celles sur lesquelles leur estimation forfaitaire de coûts était basée. Une marge plus importante peut donc être réalisée dans ces conditions. Les forages situés dans ces zones sont toutefois vulnérables à la pollution. Bien qu’un forage puisse passer les tests de qualité de l’eau immédiatement après avoir été foré, l’eau peut être impropre à la consommation humaine pendant les mois pluvieux en raison de l’augmentation du transport des polluants de surface et des taux de lixiviation ou, après plusieurs années, du fait de l’accumulation des polluants dans ces zones. En outre, l’accès des communautés à ces puits peut être limité, en particulier pendant les mois pluvieux où ces zones peuvent être vulnérables aux inondations.
  • Le bricolage pour faire des économies: En vertu des modalités de paiement « pas d’eau, pas de paiement »,, les entrepreneurs de forage doivent économiser dans la mesure du possible afin de pouvoir amortir les pertes qu’ils ont subies. Pour économiser de l’argent, il a été rapporté que certains entrepreneurs de forage en Ouganda sont connus pour les pratiques suivantes :
  • L’utilisation de matériaux de mauvaise qualité et/ou qui ne sont pas appropriés qux conditions hydrogéologiques, par exemple, des conduites montantes en fer galvanisé plutôt qu’en acier inoxydable dans les eaux souterraines acides. Les conduites montantes en fer galvanisé sont 4 à 5 fois moins chères que l’acier inoxydable. Lorsque des conduites montantes en fer galvanisé sont utilisées dans les eaux souterraines acides (qui sont courantes en Ouganda), une eau de couleur rouge/brune impropre à la consommation humaine est fort probable (Casey et al., 2016).
  • L’utilisation de matériaux inappropriés pour la conception du forage, par exemple, l’utilisation d’un tubage de 5 pouces lorsqu’un forage ouvert de 6/6,5 pouces[1] a été foré, car le tubage de 5 pouces est moins cher que celui de 6/6,5 pouces. Pour éviter que le tubage de 5 pouces ne tombe dans le trou ouvert de 6/6,5 pouces, les foreurs en chauffent la base et l’étirent pour l’ajuster au dessus de la zone ouverte. 42 % des entrepreneurs en forage interrogés (n = 14) ont admis avoir recours à cette pratique. Alors que certains y voient une bonne astuce, d’autres craignent que de la vase ne s’accumule dans ces forages avec le temps, en raison de l’espace entre le tubage et la roche consolidée et/ou des fissures qui se forment dans les zones les plus tendues du tubage. Un tel envasement use non seulement les pièces de la pompe à main, mais peut également entraîner des problèmes d’apparence du point de vue de l’utilisateur lorsque la vase pénètre dans l’alimentation en eau potable.
  • Arrêter de forer lorsqu’on rencontre de l’eau pour la première fois: On peut économiser beaucoup d’argent ainsi ; en Ethiopie, par exemple, forer à 50 mètres au lieu de 60 mètres réduit le coût du forage de 13% (Calow et al., 2012). Toutefois, si le forage ne pénètre pas dans l’aquifère principal, la quantité d’eau disponible après la construction peut être problématique, même si le forage passe l’essai de pompage.

3) Interférer avec les données d’essai de la pompe ou raccourcir le temps d’essai de la pompe

Cela permet de masquer les sites à faible rendement et les sites infructueux. Ces forages seront inévitablement à faible rendement après construction ou, dans le pire des cas, à sec.

La nécessité pour les foreurs d’avoir recours aux pratiques ci-dessus en Ouganda est exacerbée par le fait que, dans de nombreux cas, le forfait auquel les foreurs sont payés pour un forage réussi n’est pas assez élevé. De plus, la supervision par un hydrogéologue qualifié est rare.

Que faire en ce qui concerne les contrats clés en main ?

Les contrats clés en main devraient-ils continuer à être utilisés en Ouganda ? Les avis diffèrent d’un acteur à l’autre : la majorité des maitres d’ouvrage en Ouganda estiment que le recours aux contrats clés en main devrait se poursuivre, tandis que les consultants et le Ministère de l’eau et de l’environnement estiment qu’ils devraient cesser, au vu des problèmes de qualité des travaux décrits ci-dessus.

Le Ministère de l’eau et de l’environnement est allé jusqu’à publier une directive en janvier 2017 décourageant l’utilisation de contrats clés en main, et préconisant plutôt que les contrats subdivisés, un pour le choix du site (attribué à un hydrogéologue/consultant) et un pour le forage et l’installation (attribué à un entrepreneur en forage) soient dorénavant utilisés. Les opinions des foreurs eux-mêmes semblent impartiales ; la plupart d’entre eux ne s’opposent pas à l’idée de travailler dans le cadre de contrats clés en main ; ils demandent simplement à ce que les prix forfaitaires que les maitres d’ouvrage soient prêts à payer pour des forages réussis augmentent dans le futur, pour qu’ils ne soient pas obligés de prendre de bricoler pour faire des économies sur place.

Qu’en pensez-vous?

 Alors, qu’en pensez-vous? Avez-vous de l’expérience en matière de contrats clés en main pour forer des puits d’eau, ou d’autres pratiques que vous aimeriez partager ? Vous pouvez répondre ci-dessous en postant un commentaire, ou vous pouvez participer au webinaire en direct le 14 mai (inscriptions ici)

Références

Calow, R., MacDonald, A., and Cross, P. (2012). Corruption in rural water supply in Ethiopia. In J. Plummer (Ed.), Diagnosing Corruption in Ethiopia: Perceptions, realities and the way forward for key sectors (pp 121-179). Washington DC, USA: World Bank. Available from https://www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-files/8555.pdf

Casey, V., Brown, L., Carpenter, J.D., Nekesa, J., and Etti, B. (2016). The role of handpump corrosion in the contamination and failure of rural water supplies. Waterlines, 35(1), 59-77. Available from https://www.developmentbookshelf.com/doi/full/10.3362/1756-3488.2016.006

Liddle, E.S. and Fenner, R.A. (2018). Review of handpump-borehole implementation in Uganda, Nottingham, UK: BGS (OR/18/002). Available from https://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/520591/

[1] Les trous de forage peuvent être ” entièrement tubés ” ou ” ouverts “. Si un trou de forage est ” entièrement tubé “, toute la partie verticale est tubée, avec des grilles dans les couches d’eau. Toutefois, si le trou de forage est ” ouvert “, seules les zones non consolidées du forage vertical sont tubées – le reste de la roche consolidée est laissé à l’état “ouvert ” (pas de tube ni de grilles).

Un pouce équivaut à 2,54 cm (note du traducteur).

Remerciements

Ce travail fait partie du projet Hidden Crisis du programme de recherche UPGro – cofinancé par le NERC, le DFID et l’ESRC.

Le travail de terrain entrepris pour ce rapport fait partie de la recherche doctorale des auteurs à l’Université de Cambridge, sous la supervision du Professeur Richard Fenner. Ce travail sur le terrain a été financé par le Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund et UPGro : Hidden Crisis.

Merci à ceux d’entre vous de l’Université de Makerere et de WaterAid Ouganda qui m’ont apporté un soutien logistique, y compris sur le terrain, pendant que je menais les entretiens pour ce rapport (en particulier le Dr Michael Owor, Felece Katusiime et Joseph Okullo de l’Université Makerere et Gloria Berochan de WaterAid Uganda). Merci également à tous les répondants d’avoir été enthousiastes et disposés à participer à cette recherche.

Photo: ” Les membres de l’équipe Hidden Crisis utilisent une caméra de CCTV pour l’observation du fond de puits de la construction d’un forage communautaire ” (Source: ‘BGS © NERC. UPGro Hidden Crisis Project.’)