For as long as we’ve been around as a species, hand-digging and other manual methods have been used to dig wells. Although mechanized methods are more effective and efficient, they are not always the best option for communities and individuals in dire need of water. If you’re looking for ways to be self-sufficient, it’s ideal that you know how to dig your own well.
Getting Down and Dirty!
People have been making wells in the wilderness without any power tools for thousands of years. Although these methods require hard work, most can be done with locally-available skills and materials. The best and most common method of accessing groundwater is to dig a well manually with simple tools such as a pick and shovel and a bucket attached to a rope. Hand-digging wells is easy and requires no special skills or tools. This trade has been a successful business in many parts of the country.
This is the most cost-effective method for well construction when labor costs are low. A large diameter hand-dug borehole may be more efficient in producing water from an aquifer that is low in permeability.
The Risks of Hand-Digging Wells
However, due to the risk of cave-ins, and lack oxygen, hand digging a well can be very dangerous. Hand-dug wells of more than 30m are rare because it is hard to dig deep. It is impossible to dig deeper than a meter below the groundwater table unless it slowly seeps into the ground. It is very slow to dig into rock as well. It is difficult to protect a hand-digged well from contamination, as surface water can seep into many places. The typical bucket attached to a rope that is used to fetch water easily transmits bacteria and viruses to groundwater.
How to Protect It
You can protect a hand-dug well by sealing it, pouring concrete aprons, covering the top with a lid, and installing a pump. These measures can increase the cost of the well, so be careful if you don’t wanna spend too much.
Always Be Self-Reliant
Hand-dug wells are definitely worth doing if you have the time and are wanting to be as self-reliant as possible. There are other ways you can be self-sufficient as well, so check out the rest of the homesteading articles featured on my blog. Thanks for reading, and be sure to grab emergency survival food kits featured on my homepage just in case SHTF.
Dan here. Prepping is key to surviving when SHTF, and that’s what I’m all about. Check out my blog for both prepper tips and general survival tactics.