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Traditional Well Digging - Ideal Method ?

I am from a village near Sawantawadi,  Maharashtra & own a 15 acre plot. I have identified 2 spots for digging a well using traditional method.I have been advised to dig atleast 20 feet and at about 15 feet its expected that i will come across hard black stone during digging. I want to dig a well at least 5mts in diametre and upto 25to 30 feet deep. I am confused for which method to use for digging.

I would like to know if it is advisable to use a JCB machine for digging the well or to go in for traditional manual labour.

Also would it be better to use concrete "rings" for the well wall construction or go in for mud bricks or such methods?

kindly advise me .





1. Well Digging - Ideal Method

Hello! Varun,

You are located near sawantwadi, I am not really sure what kind of material you have there, at some places there is hard laterite and some places there is just red lateritic soil.

Anyway, if there is hard laterite ideally you should go for the traditional way where in they cut the laterite into blocks and get it out.

if there is soft soil on surface you can always use a JCB, to excavate. this can be used only to excavate up to about 10-12 ft. After that you have to get the job done manually.

If you encounter hard rock they will use explosive to balst the rock before it can be excavated manually.

My personal advice, use thelining  material that is used locally, and use the labour force locally available, it is cheaper and the durability is the same.


Dr. ANil Lalwani

In any case, you will have plenty of hard rock to use as lining, or if there is laterite on top you coudl use those as linign material, but makign cement rings is also an alternative if you have only soft strata in the well.

2. well digging

The open well should be dug in the areas , where the massive rock appears within 30 feet and the water level should be shallow depth. Digging by earth movers is better if the formation is unconsolidated . If the formation is very hard digging by manual and with help of gelatine.Digging by JCB is possible only upto 10 feet.Before digging better to consult a Geologist ,the only you can select good ground water potential area and you can know the type of formation.

3. Dear Varun, First of all we

Dear Varun,

First of all we should know about the rock formation existing in your field and adjoining areas.
The most important geological formation envisaged in sawantwadi is basically a Laterite formation to be seen in hilly tracts and coastal alluvium along the coasts. Also the metamorphic rocks under lying the laterite formation is the most conspicous geology of your area.  These Laterite rocks are highly porous and generally form a flat plateau with elevation range of 40 to 60 mtrs. It is generally observed that the contacts of laterites with underlying rocks yield moderate to good quantity of groundwater. The thickness of weathered zone and intercalation of clayey nodules and the lithomarge layer at the contact point of laterite and hard rock mainly control the occurrence and movement of groundwater.  These rocks act as a moderately productive aquifer for tapping groundwater through dug wells.
Whatever the way used for well development, either through hand drills, macheneries like poclain or manual methods, the diameter of the well needs to be made perfect with appropriate dia meter on the top and lesser diameter in the bottom to prevent caving in and uniform distribution of hydrostatic pressure in the well.  If laterite formation is the major rock type, there is no need for any brick work and cement rings.
If the formation is very loose and highly weathered then a few metre depth of brick work can be provided up up to the encounter of hard rock formation. The water flowing fractures should not be closed by installation of cement rings. Hence, brick work will be a good oprion.
However, if the existing rock formation is shared with me further advice can be extended.
Murali Kochukrishnan

4. Dear Varun,



I read Mr.Murali replay i also agree for that,i have one idea that may be you can use.


Take a sample of rocks and get it checked in lab for what kind of rocks then you will get a idea and also guide from what kind of method to use remove the rocks.

second why don't try a drill method because the situation now you don't have any idea how many feet of this rocks is live if you drill then you can get an idea how many feet the rocks is live and which method you need to use to remove.

If you soil test done then you know how the strength of soil.if you soil is good and Strong then you need ring type wall structure.



5. Dear Member, You need to look

Dear Member,

You need to look at previous user’s experiences...and of plots nearby etc.

It would be appropriate to consult with a local boring contractor who is familiar with the topography of the area….i.e the lay-out of rocks…..appearances of water level as you dig deeper than 10 to 15 feet...etc.
If you have space, then an open well cn be dig..if space is a constaint..then use up less area by using rings etc...
Safer would be to go in for open well till maxm. depth and then use boring for laying bore- pipe..bore-well pump etc..
Having a bigger dia / bore-well hand dug would help in going for expansion easily in future..etc..
Also pl assess if rain- harvesting can be done at your plot..This would assist in a larger perspective..
If rain- water is taken to under- ground aquifers then both the quality and quantity of bore- water is enhanced always..
Holistically, if you have waste- water streams..this also can nbe duly cleaned and processed water can be either stored and then used for agicukture,,etc..
Also if bio- wastes are availble then mix cow- dung and carry out composting..of these solid- watses and usem as manure..     
With well wishes..
Er. Ajit Seshadri
Secretary and Head- Environment & Energy
The Vigyan Vijay Foundation
New Delhi-110 045

6. Dear Varun, For digging

Dear Varun,


For digging open wells, it is always better to go for traditional manual digging.   The laterites can be perfectly cut to get the round shape for the well.  You may not need to construct the walls, if the laterites are hard.  You may also find hard black rocks at a level of 30 to 50 feet, which may be a thin layer of 2-5 ft.  This can be exploded.  Then you may get good quality water in abundance.



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