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An assessment of hand drilling potential in upland and lowland dambo environments of Malawi
Hand drilling methods can offer low cost, rapid access to shallow, unconsolidated aquifers typically found in dambo environments (seasonally waterlogged African wetlands). Three hand drilling techniques (augering, percussion drilling, and borehole jetting) were evaluated in regard to their suitability for groundwater supply in upland and lowland dambos in Malawi. Through the drilling of 19 test boreholes, typical sub surface dambo geologies were assessed in terms of aquifer suitability to hand drilling applications. Drilling rates were recorded to examine the performance of a certain technique in particular ground conditions. A comparison between hand drilled boreholes and hand dug wells in dambos is also presented emphasizing the relative importance of implementation cost, convenience of construction and location.