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close this bookWater Manual for Refugee Situations (UNHCR, 1992, 160 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentForeword
View the documentDrinking water
View the document1. Introduction
Open this folder and view contents2. Assessment and organization
Open this folder and view contents3. The need
Open this folder and view contents4. Immediate response during emergencies
Open this folder and view contents5. Refugee water supply systems
Open this folder and view contents6. Water sources, their protection and development
Open this folder and view contents7. Pumping equipment
Open this folder and view contents8. Water treatment
Open this folder and view contents9. Water storage
Open this folder and view contents10. Water distribution systems
Open this folder and view contents11. Operation and maintenance of water supply systems
Open this folder and view contents12. Management of emergency water supply systems
View the documentAnnex A - Refugee water supply inventory forms
View the documentAnnex B - Approximate daily water requirements in refugee emergency situations
View the documentAnnex C - Guidelines on water quality
View the documentAnnex D - Recommended format for technical specifications for water well construction

Annex D - Recommended format for technical specifications for water well construction


A = Number of wells to be drilled
B = Location of drilling sites
C = UNHCR's implementing partner for the project


1.1. Subject of the Contract

The subject of the contract comprises the construction of (A) water wells for potable water supplies for refugee settlements in (B).

The contractor will carry out the drilling work and provide the proper tools, machinery, implements, materials and labour for due construction of the wells, their development and pump testing. He will also provide the casing and screen materials according to the quality specifications given hereunder.

1.2. Information supplied by (C)

(C) will supply all available information about the possible hydrogeological conditions at each drilling site. It should be clear that this information does not hold (C) responsible for the locally different conditions at the specific drilling site or for the particular problems the contractor may face while carrying out his work.

1.3. Drilling Sites

(C) will indicate the drilling sites and provide the required permits for the use of the land where the contract is to be carried out.

The contractor will be responsible for all damages occurring outside the allocated land.

The contractor will clear all debris of any kind, and leave the land, as far as it is possible, in the original condition, once the well has been finished, developed and pump-tested.

1.4. Abandoned Well

If the contractor is not able to finish the drilling or has to abandon the well due to loss of tools or any other accident or contingency, he should remove the casing or drive pipes already placed in the hole and refill it with clay or concrete, at his own expense. All material extracted from such holes, after refilling them will be considered the property of the contractor.

In this case, (C) will not pay for any of the work carried out, and will authorize in advance the drilling of a new hole, at a site near the abandoned one.


2.1. Boreholes

2.1.1. Information concerning each borehole

The contractor will supply a detailed borehole log, in which all relevant information on drilling velocity, well casing and other well construction operations will be recorded.

The contractor will also annotate all information pertaining to the appearance of water filtrations and aquifer, types of rock found and rock sampling details.

2.1.2. Casing and diameters

The drilling of each hole will be carried out according to the characteristics specified in the Appendix of these specifications, using the proper drilling tools, drive pipes, casing pipes, gravel packs and sanitary protection (see 2.5.), based on the real characteristics of the aquifer formations. The casing pipe and sanitary protection (seals) should isolate the aquifers from other formations, which are considered improper for the exploitation of wholesome water.

The well design is to be authorized by (C) before the casing pipes and screens are introduced into the well.

2.1.3. Pipes and screen filters

The contractor will supply all pipes, screen filters and fittings for the proper casing of the wells at the agreed price.

2.1.4. Drilling equipment and depth of drilling

The contractor will use drilling equipment capable of drilling down 25 per cent deeper than indicated in Appendix I. The use of cable tool, rotary or down the hole hammer (air percussion) rigs is acceptable. The depths indicated in the Appendix are tentative and should only be regarded as a guide.

If the real characteristics of the wells being drilled justify any change in these specifications, the contractor will request the authorization of (C) for such changes to be made.

These communications will be made verbally and shall be properly recorded by (C).

In every case, if the actual characteristics of the well differ from those indicated in the Appendix I, and once these changes have been authorized by (C), a proper price adjustment will be made according to the final depth of the well, and the unit price rendered by the contractor in his original proposal.

2.2. Well Completion and Test Pumping

2.2.1. Pumping tests

The contractor will have a pumping unit capable of discharging 50 per cent more water, at the well's pumping water level, than the maximum yield indicated for each well in the Appendix.

Once the well construction is finished, the well will be developed by hydraulic surging (by means of a packer piston, compressed air of dry ice treatment). Immediately after this operation is completed, the well will be cleaned and the pumping unit introduced into the well. The contractor will communicate (3 days in advance) the date the pumping test is to be carried out.

The test pumping of the well will be performed according to Pumping test

The test will consist of continuously pumping the well at the maximum yield specified in Appendix I for the respective well (or at any other previously defined rate, according to the results of the drilling work, between the contractor and (C). The duration of this test will be 48 hours. The measuring of the dynamic water levels will be performed according to the logarithmic time-scale schedule normally used for test pumping water wells. Other specifications

The contractor will evacuate all the pumped water in such a way that no impoundments are produced at distances less than 200 m from the well. The contractor will provide all the necessary elements for this purpose.

The contractor will provide all necessary implements (weirs, pipes, gauges, etc.) for the proper measurement of discharge rates and water levels.

2.2.2. Well yield

After the pumping tests have been carried out, (C) will decide the recommended yield for each well, according to the test results, appropriate hydrogeological techniques and the actual needs.

2.3. Well Plumbness and Alignment

2.3.1. Tests

The well will be tested for plumbness and alignment by means of a 12 metre long, and perfectly straight, steel pipe that will be introduced along the whole well. The external diameter of this will, at the most, be 13 mm less than the well casing inside the diameter. This pipe will be supplied by the contractor.

2.3.2. Minimum requirements

Such a test pipe, as described in 2.3.1. should easily move through the whole well. The loss of plumbness of the well's axis should never be more than 2/3 the smaller inside diameter of casing. If these minimum requirements are not met by the well, the contractor will, if possible, correct the defects. If not, (C) will reject the well and no payments will be made for its drilling and completion. This test should normally be made before pump testing the well.

2.4. Protection of the Water Quality, Disinfection and Sampling

2.4.1. The contractor will take maximum care to avoid the physical, chemical or bacteriological contamination of the well water, during the construction operations. In any case, where water is polluted due to the contractor's neglect, he will be obliged to carry out all the necessary operations, at his own cost, in order to extract such pollution from the well.

2.4.2. Well sterilization

Once the well has been completed and tested, the contractor will sterilize the well with a chlorine solution yielding at least 50 mg/l of active chlorine in all parts of the well.

The chlorine solution may be prepared for this purpose, by disolving calcium hypochlorite, sodium hypochlorite or gaseous chlorine in water. The chlorine solution should stay in the well for at least four hours, at the specified concentration.

2.4.3. Rock samples

The contractor will keep a complete record of the rock samples taken during the drilling operations, in properly packed and identified sample bags, and will make them available to (C) upon his request.

The contractor will take at least one sample every three metres of drilling, unless a change in rock formations is spotted by the driller. In such cases, additional samples should be taken. The minimum weight for each sample should be 500 grammes.

For each rock sample that has not been taken, the contractor will be fined a penalty amounting to 1 per cent of the total value of the well and this will be deducted from the final payment. If the total amount of samples not taken is more than 15 per cent of the specified number, the well should be started again and (C) will not make any payments for the work already done.

2.4.4. Water samples

The contractor will take two water samples for laboratory analysis, after completion of the long duration pumping test. One sample will be used for physical and chemical analysis. It should be put in a clean and properly sealed plastic or glass container. Its volume should not be less than 5 litres. The other sample will be used in a bacteriological analysis. It should be collected in triplicate, in sterilized, properly sealed and protected containers. The volume of such containers should not be less than 100 millilitres. The samples will be handed to (C) as soon as the samples have been taken.

2.4.5. Sand particle content in pumped water

The water drawn out of the well will be acceptable if it has a sand particle content of less than 5 grammes per cubic metre. In case this maximum limit is not kept, the contractor will make all necessary adjustments to the well structure, at his own expense, in order to meet this specification.

2.5. Finishing Works

2.5.1. Temporary lid

The contractor will pay close attention to the due protection of the well's mouth against the entrance of water or any other pollutants while drilling or after the completion of the well. For this purpose, he will provide a lid to be placed at the well's mouth at any time the drilling rig is not in operation. This lid will also be placed after the well has been completed.

2.5.2. Artificial filter packs

An artificial properly graded gravel pack will be placed in the annular space between the hole wall and the outer face of the casing according to Annex 1. Proper techniques should be used for the accurate placing of this pack on the site. The gravel to be used should be clean, well-rounded and the grains should be hard and of alluvial origin and in size between 0.5 and 2.5 cm diameter. This gravel has to be approved by (C).

2.5.3. Sanitary protection seal

All the wells that have been completed and tested with success, should have a proper sanitary seal protection built of concrete.

This protection will be placed from 3.5 metres below the ground to 0.25 metres above the ground and will occupy all the annular space between the hole face and the outer face of the casing.

Characteristics of the Water Wells
Tentative Specifications (see 1.2 Technical Specifications)










lps: litres per second
m: metre
mm: millimetres