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Water? How boring!

Kisii, in south-west Kenya is luckier than some parts of Africa in that it enjoys some rain all year round, although this year, it has been less than normal.

As a consequence, the vegetable plot at the Twiga Children’s Centre suffered (there isn’t someone there all the time to watch over the newly planted seedlings). The heat of th esun, together with a few days without rain has decimated the crop.

There is a river on the western border of the centre, but it is at the bottom of a steep hill, and it would be no mean feat for the kids to bring water up to irrigate the vegetable plot.

So, I have put on my tool-using thing-maker hat on to devise a way to either:

  • raise water from the river to a storage tank at the plot – about 40 to 50 feet, or
  • sink a borehole near the plot.

Post hole auger

Looking at the second as a better solution, I set about drafting a design for a manually operated borehole drill, as it would be impossible to get a drilling rig onto the site until we have built a road to the site, which will be quite a task when we get around to it.

Here in the UK, I have a tool used to make holes to plant fence posts. I think it is called a post hole auger and it is like an over-sized bit for a brace, with a T handle to turn it and bore through the soil.

Obviously, this tool is only about 3 feet long so, without modification, it would not bore a very deep hole. But, what if extension rods were attached as the drill went deeper into the soil?

That should not be too difficult. The problem is finding a post hole auger in Kenya that can be modified – or find someone who can make such a tool. I reckon the latter would be easier.

As for the extension bars, they need to be easily attached and detached, but not when they are down a 20 foot hole, of course.

So that is my project for the moment. If it works, we could sink boreholes anywhere where there is not bedrock above the water table (although I have ideas for breaking through that as well).

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