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Set Free Wells: Deep Wells vs. Bore Wells

If you have been following along with our well drilling work, you may have heard the terms “deep well” and “hand-pump well.” These terms refer to the two types of wells Set Free drills to provide clean water to those that desperately need it. Each are drilled with the goal of serving its recipients’ children and their children, by leaving the village with an infrastructure and support to maintain the well. But the decision between the two depends on the country we are working in.

Check out this brief breakdown of why we drill each well and how they serve the communities we work in:

What is a Hand-Pump Well?:

  1. A hand-pump well usually serves between 500 and 800 people.
  2. A hand-pump well is drilled between 80ft – 300ft through the earth.
  3. A hand-pump well brings clean water up from the earth by manually pumping.
  4. It takes 5-7 days for our drill crews to finish the entire drilling process.
  5. A hand-pump well costs $5,000 to serve an entire village.

After assessing a villages precious water conditions and determining the best location in the village to begin drilling, a Set Free drill crew drills through the ground until they hit clean water. The depth of the hand-pump well depends on how deep the water table lies beneath the earth. Once the well is drilled and the foundation is built around it to prevent flooding, clean water is available to the entire village.


When villagers are ready to collect clean water to take home to their families, they use the lever seen in the picture above to pump clean water from deep in the ground. This fresh water then flows right into their bucket. With the well drilled in a central location in the village, villagers have a much shorter walk to carry their water home!

What is a Deep Well?

  1. A deep well usually serves between 1,000 and 2,500 people.
  2. A deep well is drilled roughly 800ft through the earth.
  3. A deep well is powered by electricity – so no one has to manually pump water up from 800ft down!
  4. It takes 7 days for our drill crews to finish this entire well drilling process.
  5. A deep well costs $10,000 to serve an entire village.

The assessment starts out the same for a deep well as it does for a hand-pump well. Once the villages needs are determined and the best location is chosen, the drilling begins. A deep well gets its name simply for how incredibly deep it is drilled into the ground – usually around 800ft!


When villagers are ready to collect water from the deep well, instead of using a handpump, they simply flip a switch to turn on the electricity that powers the well. This brings the water up from deep within the earth and then flows right out of the spicket into buckets that are carried home to families to drink, bathe, cook and clean with.

Whether it’s a hand-pump well or a deep well, there is nothing like the gift of clean water! Because of God’s grace, your support, and the hard work of our drill crews, villages throughout India, Sierra Leone, and Liberia celebrate this gift every day!

Blogs you might also like:

  1. Well Drilling in Africa: A Step-By-Step Guide
  2. The Water Problem in India: How You Can Help the Crisis
  3. What You Need to Know About the Water Crisis
  4. What Happens When You Give a Village a Well
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