Wellspring Africa is a small non-profit organization that was founded to promote water
procurement in rural Africa.
Since 1984 we have been researching simple well drilling technology and
training drillers. The well drilling technology we promote --
hand-powered percussion drilling -- dates back to 1100 B.C. and the drilling methods have been used
successfully throughout history in China, Europe, and the Americas. Made
by local craftspeople from locally-available scrap materials, the tools have proved to be cheap (about $250 for a set of
tools) and very effective.
A Description of our Hand Powered Percussion Drill
Our goal is to promote these simple technologies so that the villagers themselves can
become self-sufficient in creating their own water sources.
||We have produced a
manual and video to
teach these water well drilling practices. (Click
here.) These are available in
traditional formats as well as on a CD.
||We have created a kit that contains all the
bits" for making a percussion drill, packed to meet
airline size and weight requirements. (Click
||As well, we have collaborated with the
Practica Foundation in the Netherlands to to write another
percussion drilling handbook as a part of their
series on manual well drilling. (Click
||We have consulted with hundreds of
drillers and project managers worldwide. Visiting
sites in Costa Rica, Ghana, Liberia, and Tanzania.
||We occasionally do demonstration projects to train
more drillers. Our goal is to work with those who have a long-term
commitment to building a sustainable small-scale well drilling industry. In 1985 Wellspring Africa volunteers spent nine months in Liberia, West
Africa, training technicians in rural villages to drill deep wells. In
1999-2000 we trained drillers in central Nigeria. In 2006 we worked with
drillers in Tanzania. In 2008 we trained drillers in
||We have given hundreds of presentations
to civic groups, churches, and classrooms, promoting
small-scale water development and artisanal well makers.
We believe that the only way we are going to see broad-based and sustainable potable
water development in the rural areas of lesser developed countries is through small scale
technologies like the ones we are rediscovering, wherein the villagers themselves decide
when and where and how the well is to be made and have the means to carry out their wishes
The United Nations Water Decade of the 1980s demonstrated that the fancy and expensive
technology of truck mounted drills are rarely sustainable and simply cannot
scale to meet the needs of the remote areas of the developing world,
where the bulk of its population lives. We believe that this simple drilling technology is
the best answer to this predicament and our research has shown that it has been used for
ages throughout the world, in almost every type of soil and stone, with great success.
Lately, though, we've been formulating new ideas for scaling water resource
development to meet the still burgeoning demand. Please take a few
minutes to read...
A Proposal to Reorient Rural
Water Development Efforts toward a more Entrepreneurial
For further information, read my 1990 paper:
Appropriate Technology Strategies for Rural Water
Development After the Decade
-- Cliff Missen