Hand dug wells are widely used around the world as a water source. They can come in many forms, from simple holes in the ground with limited protection, to covered wells with a handpump for extracting the water.
As part of an emergency response either new hand dug wells may be constructed, or existing hand dug wells may need repair and disinfection.
The following manual covers the well auger survey, well digging, dewatering and desludging kits. These are available from the Supply Centre.
Hand dug wells may need repairing, cleaning and disinfecting after inundation by floodwater, inundation of seawater as in the case of a tsunami, materials entering as the result of mudslides or hurricanes, or simply after long periods of limited maintenance or neglect. This Technical Brief identifies the process for repairing, cleaning and disinfecting hand dug wells and also discusses the Oxfam kits which can be used for these processes.
- Wells should be dug during the dry season, to ensure the availability of water during all seasons.
- Always line hand-dug wells.
- Liners should adhere to Oxfam standard of 1.5m external and 1.3m internal diameters and 100mm thickness e.g. stone masonry or rendered, concrete ring.
- All hand-dug wells should have a minimum of 1m raised wellheads, and concrete aprons with proper drainage leading to gravel soak pits should be included (consider highest flood level). Consider protective fences or barriers around the vicinity of the well to keep animals away.
- Where necessary address livestock and agriculture water needs in the design of the well.
- Gravel filters should be included at the bottom and sides of wells and drainage channels.
- Always incorporate a sanitary seal, preferably a 1:2:4 concrete mix 1m from ground level (water table permitting).
- Ensure that an appropriate water-lifting device is installed that is acceptable to the user, easy to maintain and minimises well water contamination.
- Ensure that the wells are resilient to natural disasters by making provision for deepening in drought prone areas and providing protection from flooding.