Operations FAQ

 Flushing out "dirty water" from new well. Once that has been flushed, clean water will flow.

Flushing out "dirty water" from new well. Once that has been flushed, clean water will flow.

Water for South Sudan has drilled 304 wells since we began drilling in 2005. Below are some commonly asked questions regarding what we do, including drilling and hygiene education.


Where does WFSS drill?

At present WFSS drills mostly in remote villages in Western Bahr el Ghazal and Warrab States, far from the conflict areas in Unity and Jonglei States.


How much does it cost to drill a well?

Currently, the full cost to drill a well is $15,000.  The total cost of a well is determined by the cost of materials in Africa, the difficulty in transporting these materials into remote areas, and the rocky soil through which we often drill.   In addition, we must often drill 100 to 300 feet down to reach the water.


Where does the water for the well come from?

There is a deep underground aquifer that is refilled each year by rain. This aquifer does not run out during the dry season and ensures that villagers have a consistent source of water year-round. The depth of the aquifer helps keep the water clean and uncontaminated. The drilling team looks for lines of tall trees to find where the aquifer lies.


How does the drilling team determine where to drill a well?

WFSS consults with the Government of South Sudan, and local county governments, to determine the general areas in which we will drill. The final decision is made by the county commissioner in consultation with the village chiefs in each area.


How deep do you have to drill?

The drilling team may have to drill down to 300 feet to reach the renewable aquifer.


Do villagers help with the drilling process?

Villagers help in many ways! They clear brush and small trees so that our vehicles can reach the drilling areas. They dig two mud pits to hold the water used for drilling, carry bricks and heavy bags of cement, and scoop gravel. They build a fence around the well to keep animals away. They also help during the assessment process by showing us where to get water needed for drilling and for drilling team's personal use.


How are the wells maintained?

The villagers choose two people to be in charge of the well. WFSS then trains them how to maintain and repair the wells.


How much water can a well produce?

The pumps we use can produce 15 Liters (4 Gallons) per minute, up to 21,000 Liters (9,409 Gallons) per day.


Are all of your wells still working?

To the best of our knowledge all wells installed by WFSS are still working. We revisit many areas in which we have previously drilled and have recorded all wells in working order. A WFSS team traveled to South Sudan in 2012 and visited 16 well sites, all of which were fully operational. In 2015, WFSS board member Angelique Stevens traveled to South Sudan to visit previously drilled wells and begin a formal well evaluation process. 


When can you drill wells in South Sudan?

We are able to drill during the dry season in South Sudan, approximately December through May. During the rainy season the “roads” in South Sudan turn to mud, and our heavy equipment and trucks are unable to travel. In addition, it is difficult to drill in the rainy season as it is more difficult to locate the true source of water in the aquifer.


Do you test the water in the wells?

Yes, we test the water that comes out of each well we drill.


What kind of drilling rig do you use?

We are currently using a Deep Rock drilling rig, the DR-150, equipped with a mud pump and compressor to be able to drill through layers of rock.


What kind of pump is on the wells?

We use the India Mark II, which is the most widely used hand pump in the world.


WFSS Hygiene Education Team

WFSS added a hygiene team in 2014. What do they do?

The hygiene education team started as one man and one woman, trained in hygiene education, who traveled with our drilling team to train villagers and school children on how germs are spread, and the importance of washing hands and keeping water buckets and cans clean.


How does WFSS plan to expand the hygiene program?

In 2014-15 the hygiene team will become autonomous, and travel separately from the drilling team. They will continue to train villagers who can, in turn, train others. They will also have another team member trained in health who will accompany them. We are also looking into how we might begin to offer sanitation services to villages in which we drill wells.