In the heat of the African summer in May 2006 we completed our first well to bring clean drinking water to a remote rural village living in poverty of approximately 300 people.
 The traditional method of obtaining groundwater in rural areas of the developing world, and still the most common, is by means of hand-dug wells.

However, because they are dug by hand their use is restricted to suitable types of ground, such as clays, sands, gravels and mixed soils where only small boulders are encountered. Some communities use the skill and knowledge of local well-diggers, but often the excavation is carried out, under supervision, by the villagers themselves.

The volume of the water in the well below the standing water table acts as a reservoir, which can meet demands on it during the day and should replenish itself during periods when there is no abstraction.

Depths of hand-dug wells range from shallow wells, about five metres deep, to deep wells over 20 metres deep. .

It is impractical to excavate a well which is less than a metre in diameter; an excavation of about 1.5 metres in diameter provides adequate working space for the diggers and will allow a final internal diameter of about 1.2 metres after the well has been lined.

(see video clip)