Digging Hope


Many people, at the urban or rural level, in all the Continents around the world suffer from a serious problem, which is the lack of fresh and healthy drinking water. Clean water is essential for healthy living and good nutrition; our body cannot benefit from the food it receives if we drink contaminated water.

The demand for clean water increases with the steady population growth, in addition to the increased environmental pollution and the high consumption of water, all leading to extreme scarcity of clean water. The problem is aggravated during summertime, becoming a crisis. It has become essential to find ways to conserve water; not only to provide permanent sources of drinking water, but also to ensure that our children and grandchildren will have a source of water essential for life.

Luckily, many Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) seek to solve this problem through a number of methods; such as: raising public awareness of water conservation, setting limits for personal use, and thinking of many quick-impact sources, such as digging lakes or wells.

Many children and women in remote areas and villages in Africa and other places have to travel long distances daily to get clean drinking water; therefore, the idea of digging wells and operating them manually has been a successful and immediate solution to this crisis. This solution has many advantages; such as: providing clean drinking water to remote and rural areas that have no other sources of water such as rivers, in addition to saving time and energy, as families do not have to walk for long distances.

Wells are considered an easy-to-use means; they are dug at points where groundwater is identified and a pump is installed. Wells are also low cost compared to other water resources. They serve a large number of people; a single pump-operated well provides water for about 300-400 persons. Wells also help develop the agricultural life in nearby vegetable and fruits farms.

Underground water accumulates and slowly flows through permeable rocks called cavity. The cavity can be a layer of gravel, sand, or rocks with pores that are capable of retaining moisture. The relation between these pores, their sizes, and their number determines the probability of the water release to the surface; so, it is important to take a number of technical steps and precautionary measures to ensure that the groundwater is extracted according to the health system and does not cause contamination.

Several factors, including culture, climate, and geological factors, interfere with the determination of the feasibility of digging a well. Hence, the cooperation between governments, NGOs, and local experts is essential to determine the correct technique for conserving groundwater and develop wells.


Top image: View from the bottom of the well. Credits: Freepik

This article was first published in print in SCIplanet, Summer 2019 issue.

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SCIplanet is a bilingual edutainment science magazine published by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Planetarium Science Center and developed by the Cultural Outreach Publications Unit ...
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