Overcoming Challenges

Drilling in South Sudan

A not-so-simple process

Drilling a borehole, often hundreds of feet deep to reach the aquifer’s water, is always a technical challenge. That challenge is magnified in a remote South Sudan village, operating in 120°F+ temperatures.

The drilling rig requires water to operate. Compressed air must be available. Soil must be tested and retested to measure progress. Diesel fuel is required at all times and so is special polymer to keep the borehole intact until pipe is sunk for the well.

And of course, the crew must be fed every day of the drilling season.

All of this is counted in materials that have to be trucked in to remote villages. In some cases, where there are no roads, our crews cut the roads in order to drive the large trucks full of equipment and supplies.

All in all, Water for South Sudan operations make a fascinating study in a process that only appears simple.

Ingenuity and perseverance required

South Sudan is the world’s newest country and among the world’s poorest regions. Though much has been done to develop infrastructure since its independence in 2011, South Sudan has a long way to go.  The major hubs like Juba, Wau, and Rumbek have seen much development in the last few years, there are slightly better dirt roads linking metropolitan hubs together but the rural areas still lack basic infrastructure like roads, utilities, and basic sanitation.

In the rural areas, where many of our wells are located, there is still no electric and roads that are hacked out by hand can’t be traveled on for six months of the year because of the rainy season. There are no accurate road signs and no reliable maps to get between the smaller villages. Motor vehicle supplies such as spare parts, tires, inner tubes, or tools, if available at all, are only accessed in cities or big towns in the region—a trip that often takes days.

Every day, our drilling team faces the same challenges that the people of South Sudan. Led by Salva Dut's example, the drilling team consistently demonstrates the ingenuity and perseverance needed to ultimately overcome these challenges.