Manual Drilling

1. Manual Drilling: SHIPO Drill

Drilling a well with the SHIPO drill


Testing a tube well after drilling












A Rope pump installed on a Hand drilled Tube well of 28 meters deep


An option to make manual drilled tube wells is the so called SHIPO drill.

Advantages compared to hand dug wells

  • – Is faster
  • – Can be cheaper in soils where a well needs to be completely lined.
  • – More water guarantee in dry season since it can drill deep into the aquifer
  • – Can be done at any time no need to wait for the dry season
  • – Safer. Hand dug wells may collapse

Disadvantages compared hand digging:

  • – Requires specific tools
  • – Does not work in case of boulders or gravel larger than 2 cm
  • – Requires  skilled technicians
  • – Less storage capacity
  • – A disadvantage of a borehole (compared to a hand dug well) is that there is no access to the water if the pumps is broken


  • SHIPO drill method is used much in Tanzania and trained via, promoted by SHIPO.
  • It is a combination of sludging and percussion and can be combined with Jetting.
  • It has a heavy lower drill pipe and other drill pipes are of PVC so light weight
  • It makes tube wells with casings of 2 to 6 inch diameter and drill to 50 meters deep
  • Cost depends on soil type, length of screen and diameter of casing
  • Cost indication; 100 – 1000 US$  Depending depth, soil, diameter casing (excl. pump)
  • Cost of a drill set 500 to 700US$
  • Producers; Information at SMART Centre

2. Manual Drilling: Mzuzu Drill





(ABOVE) Using a Soil punch to make a hole until the water level. The pipe of the punch can be made longer with smaller ( light weight) pipes so total length can be 8 meters  (BELOW) Emptying the Soil punch. The Soil punch consist of a 2 inch pipe with a slot in the length and hard steel teeth. A hole can be made until the water level.
When reaching the water layer, the punch does not lift the wet sand anymore. Than a PVC casing is put into the hole and Tube bailer is used to make the hole deeper and lower the PVC pipe / filter screen

Sand and gravel removed by the Tube bailer


In softer soils with water levels of 8 meter or less a tube well can also be made with a the Mzuzu drill using a Soil punch and bailer.

Advantages compared to SHIPO drilling

  • – Is much cheaper
  • – Less tools and skills needed
  • – Easier to see the soil coming out

Disadvantages compared SHIPO drilling

  • – Can not go as deep
  • – More difficult in hard soils less percussion force


  • With a soil punch and tube bailer , tube well can be made in areas with soft , sandy soils
  • With a bailer on a tube, sand is pumped out and the PVC pipe (screen) goes down.
  • Cost depends on soil type, length of screen and diameter of casing
  • Cost indication for a 6 m deep tube well. 3 inch casing: 50 – 200 US$ (excl.pump)
  • Cost indication complete system( 6 m deep well. 3 inch casing, concrete cover, Rope pump model 2: 150 – 350 US$
  • Producers; Information SMART Centre Malawi
SHIPO Drilling in Tanzania
Mzuzu Drilling in Malawi
simonManual Drilling