What need to look for when drilling a borehole?


What do you need water for? To irrigate your garden and top up the swimming pool? To provide household water to a small rural community or farm household? Or maybe even to service a multi-hectare irrigation scheme. Whatever your requirements are, nothing beats a source of cost-effective water right where it is needed. And in most cases, that solution is a borehole.


WHERE SHOULD I DRILL THE BOREHOLE?

WHERE IS THE MOST LIKELY PLACE TO INTERSECT A RELIABLE AQUIFER?

Start with some basic research. Are there producing boreholes close to you? If there are, this is a good sign, but it is not a guarantee that you will be assured of water. You can also talk to a driller that operates in your area to get an idea of how many boreholes they have drilled in your area and how much water these boreholes are yielding.

Given that this is a significant investment, you may wish to use the services of a hydrogeologist before you start drilling. A hydrogeologist can carry out a survey of your property in order to pinpoint the spot which offers the best chance of intersecting strong water flows. To do this, they would make use of published data (e.g. groundwater maps) and in some cases, geophysical instruments. In the right conditions, these methods have a very good level of success.

WE’VE HIT WATER! NOW WHAT?

If a water source is intersected, it is possible to get an idea of whether or not it is viable to continue with the development of the hole. Most drillers offer yield testing services, but this may be done by a separate contractor.

After flushing all the loose cuttings and material out of the hole, the next step is to install a test pump and measure how much water can be sustainably pumped for an acceptable amount of drawdown in water level. Briefly, a yield test is done by pumping a measured flow rate from the hole while monitoring the drawdown in water level. This will be done over a defined period of time. While a genuine yield test brings with it extra costs, the money is worth every cent.

HOW SHOULD I CARE FOR MY BOREHOLE?

As with anything else, with the ability to access groundwater comes the responsibility to care for the resource for all other users and for generations to come:

POLLUTION

You should take basic care around the hole so as not to let any run-off, pesticides or other pollutants enter the hole. Should the water in your borehole become polluted, the process of cleaning the aquifer up is huge and expensive task. Sources of pollutants include fertilisers and hydrocarbons (petrol, diesel, engine oil).

WATER CONSERVATION

Irrigate in the later part of the afternoon in order to reduce losses due to evaporation. Even though you can now access “free” water, use it sparingly. Water running out of a garden and down a storm water drain is wasteful, and it adds to the cost of operating the borehole, for no return.

Water only when necessary. Automatic irrigation systems can be very useful, but you will need to keep adjusting the settings based on the season and the level of rainfall you have had. Do not let the system run if it is raining and consider adding a rain sensor or a soil moisture sensor to your irrigation system to prevent unnecessary watering.

WHAT SORT OF LIFESPAN CAN BE EXPECTED?

If all the boxes have been ticked, a 20-year life for the major components can be expected. The water in aquifer might fluctuate with the seasons (groundwater relies on rainfall) but properly managed, the resource should be there when your great grandchildren need water!

WE PROVIDE ANOTHER CHOOSE TO YOU!

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