Building a well might seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re leading a group of volunteers to a hot, arid area to try and give the villagers or townsfolk there access to clean, fresh water. Access to clean water is hard to get in these rural areas, and digging a well may take more work than it would in a location with constant rainfall and cooler temperatures. Follow the steps below to construct a well while out on your volunteer mission to help people in developing countries.
1. Find a Location—Your first step is to find a good location for the well. Make sure that the area isn’t owned by anyone, but, more importantly, make sure that it is an area that will give you a good source of water. These areas can be found where there is a lot of vegetation or where there is a large depression in the ground like a dry pond or riverbed.
2. Dig—Once you have found your spot, dig a hole about six feet wide or large down until you start to hit the water table. You will want to dig a little deeper than the water table, especially with harder soil, but not much farther. You will want to reinforce the sides of the well (often using brick or sheet metal) and make sure that there is a ladder or other climbing equipment available for accidents. You should also be mindful of gases trapped in the ground; never let anyone go into the well unsupervised.
3. Install a Purification System and Pump—To ensure that the community has easy access to clean water, install a purification system and water pump. Some wells have bucket and pulley systems, but, in this day and age, it is quite easy to construct a pump and purification system out of PVC pipe and other inexpensive materials. There are many demonstrations on how to do this online. Just measure the correct length for the pipe and make sure that you have all the materials on hand. Purification systems will often require that you have a container with other substances like glauconite, to absorb foreign materials.