SHIPO Well Drilling

SHIPO Well Drilling is a more cost-effective way of drilling wells.

Water & Sanitation Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia
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Key Facts

  • Well Drilling combines percussion, sludging, and jetting and can drill in compact clay and weathered rock to 50m deep with diameters of 3-6 inches.
  • The drill set can be produced with local materials.
  • The drill set is lightweight so can drill where heavy machines cannot reach.
  • Well Drilling is a proven technology with over 4,000 wells drilled.
  • The solution is good for small rural communities and families in peri-urban areas where there is not yet a piped system.
In areas with shallow and “soft“ ground layers, manual drilling like the SHIPO Well Drilling can be an alternative.

Key Features

It is a challenge to reach water related goals in rural areas in Africa. A machine drilled borehole and an imported hand pump cost USD $3,000-6,000 for 250 people. In areas with shallow water layers and “soft“ ground layers, manual drilling like the SHIPO Well Drilling can be an alternative. If combined with a locally produced rope pump, costs are USD $700-1,400 and can serve up to 150 people. It combines percussion, sludging, and jetting and can drill in compact clay and weathered rock to 50m deep with diameters of 3-6 inches. It will not drill through bedrock.

The drill set can be produced with local materials and a complete drill set costs USD $700-1,000. After Tanzania, this technology has been introduced in Malawi, Zambia, and Mozambique and it is now spreading to other countries.

Unique benefits:

  • Drill sets are much cheaper than similar imported manual drilling sets.
  • It is produced with local skills and local materials so it can also be repaired locally.
  • The drill set is lightweight so can drill where heavy machines cannot reach.
  • It is a proven technology with over 4,000 wells drilled.
  • It creates “profit-based sustainability”. Over 10 small drilling companies now use this technology, make profit with drilling, and go on after training from the SMART Centre.
  • The low cost of these wells make them affordable for families and farmers.

Social Impact

Why was it developed?

In 2003, SHIPO was looking to reduce costs related to the rural water supply. With support from Practica and the SMART Centre Group, they build up local capacity in manual drilling. Drill sets were produced with local materials like galvanized pipes and petrol engine pumps.

The SHIPO drill builds on other technologies. For instance the drill pipes are lighter than the Rota sludge, the bottom valve is larger than the Baptist drill and jetting was added. These improvements made drilling easier, less dirty and able to go to 50m deep. For bedrock, mechanical drilling rigs are still needed. To guarantee quality it is essential that drillers are trained and coached for several years, which is the task of a SMART Centre. In comparable situations manual drilled wells can have the same quality and pump capacity as machine drilled wells.

How does it improve the lives of users?

  • Entrepreneurs use this technology as a business.

  • Where this technology is possible, the cost of is 5070% less than machine drilled wells.

  • The SHIPO drill can be used in small rural communities where machines are expensive.

  • The lower cost is also affordable for families and farmers for self-supply. They use water for livestock, small scale irrigation, etc.

  • If used by families and farmers, the SHIPO drill can help to increase food security and incomes for rural families, so, in short, helps with rural development.

Future Plans

The SHIPO SMART Centre will further demonstrate and promote this technology in Tanzania.

Also SMART Centres in Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and other countries will further promote this technology.

Main Target Group

There are two target groups for this technology. The first target group is local artisans and entrepreneurs who see potential in making well drilling a business. After selection they can be trained by a SMART Centre. The second target group is NGOs and governments who want to increase rural water supply to reach SDG 6.1.1 but also water related SDGs for poverty, food, and youth employment.

Main User

The users are small rural communities and families in peri-urban areas where there is not yet a piped system. Other users are farmers who use the well for domestic and productive uses like small scale irrigation.

Price (in USD)

The cost of a SHIPO drill set is $600-1,000.

The cost of a well drilled with the SHIPO including a locally-produced rope pump or EMAS pump is $700-1,400.

© SHIPO
© SHIPO
© SHIPO
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SHIPO (Southern Highlands Participatory Organisation)
SHIPO (Southern Highlands Participatory Organisation)

SHIPO (Southern Highlands Participatory Organisation) Leire Diez Larrea, Manager, SHIPO SMART Centre smartcentretanzania.com
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Profile last edited on: May 26, 2021