Publication: Manual Borehole Drilling as a Cost-Effective Solution for Drinking Water Access in Low-Income Contexts
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Water access remains a challenge in rural areas of low-income countries. Manual drilling technologies have the potential to enhance water access by providing a low cost drinking water alternative for communities in low and middle income countries. This paper provides an overview of the main successes and challenges experienced by manual boreholes in the last two decades. A review of the existing methods is provided, discussing their advantages and disadvantages and comparing their potential against alternatives such as excavated wells and mechanized boreholes. Manual boreholes are found to be a competitive solution in relatively soft rocks, such as unconsolidated sediments and weathered materials, as well as and in hydrogeological settings characterized by moderately shallow water tables. Ensuring professional workmanship, the development of regulatory frameworks, protection against groundwater pollution and standards for quality assurance rank among the main challenges for the future.