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The Roadmap To Getting A Borehole Drilled and Installed In Zimbabwe

What do you need water for? To irrigate your garden and top up the swimming pool? To provide household water to a small rural community or farm household? Or maybe even to service a multi-hectare irrigation scheme.

Borehole construction includes the mobilisation of equipment to the site and back to the base, drilling per metre, casing entailing supply and installation of solid casing and screen, gravel pack, sanitary seal and well-head construction.

Whatever your requirements are, nothing beats a source of cost-effective water right where it is needed. And in most cases, that solution is a borehole. But drilling a borehole requires some research and planning.

The Think Water (TW) Shares Some Insight About Boreholes:

1. Borehole Siting: The first step would be to engage a water surveyor, the job of the surveyor would to identify for you the most ideal spot/site to drill the borehole (this is what is referred to as borehole siting). There are both traditional and modern methods of borehole siting. 

Traditional methods involve the use of bottles, twigs and copper wires. Modern methods involve the use of water detectors (these come in different sizes and types and their level of accuracy also varies). Some surveyors use a combination of traditional and modern methods. 

After the surveyor has pegged your borehole, he/she ought to write you a geological report detailing the depth to which the borehole should be drilled. Most surveyors charge between $80-$100USD. 
The Roadmap To Getting A Borehole Drilled and Installed In Zimbabwe
Most drilling companies have surveyors that they would refer you to, they (drilling companies) in most cases would not want to site the borehole for you because they want to avoid disputes in case of dry holes (boreholes without water). It is important therefore to ensure that the surveyor does a good job for you by using the right type of equipment and by also being honest enough to inform you whether your area has water or not. 

2. Drilling Permit: The second step would be to obtain a borehole drilling permit from ZINWA. You take the surveyor's report together with a copy of your ID as well as proof of ownership of the property on which the borehole will be drilled as well as an application fee (Currently RTGS $750 – As of 9 May 2020) to your local ZINWA offices. 

This is a simple process that should not take more than an hour. ZINWA charges hefty fines to both the driller and the owner if there is no permit to drill. Once you have been given the permit, you can then go ahead and choose your drilling company.

3. Choosing A Borehole Drilling Company: Choosing a drilling company is a very critical stage where one need to be very prudent to avoid being conned of your hard-earned money and also to ensure that there is value for money in terms of the job that will be done. 

There are now quite a number of drilling companies in the country, with most of them being in Harare. These companies make adverts in the press, some have websites, some make use of Facebook pages while some make use of agents. Make thorough background checks of your preferred drilling company. Some have waiting periods before they can come to drill, some can come the very day you engage them. 

Before they come to drill, take time to talk to them and inform them about your water needs and your expectations (the type of casing and its size), it is also important that you show them the surveyor's report. 

When you have agreed on terms with your drilling company, it’s advisable to put your agreement on paper. 

Drilling charges vary widely due to several factors (drilling area, companies have different overheads, some cheat the taxman, sources of spares and diesel, type and size of casing used etc) thus you would find that for areas in and around Harare charges for a standard 40m borehole ranges from $1200USD to us$1500USD. 

After the initial 40m, drilling companies would start to charge extra metres separately and in most cases, it’s between $40-$50USD. 

I normally advise that one makes the payment for drilling services when the drilling equipment is now on site, most companies are now agreeable to this arrangement. 

For areas outside a particular radius, companies charge mileage costs, and these vary with companies as well thus it would be cheaper if you could identify neighbours that also want boreholes drilled so that you share the mileage costs. You can negotiate these charges with your driller.

A good company would do a confirmatory survey of your site (the one identified by your surveyor) before drilling and give you advice. 
The Roadmap To Getting A Borehole Drilled and Installed In Zimbabwe

If they suspect a dry hole and if they are honest and professional, they will tell you that they are not going to be drilling and they will only charge you mileage. 

Remember the geological report states the recommended depth of the borehole, I always recommend that you add an extra 10-20m depending with your budget (water tables are continuously going down these years, adding extra meters will protect you from the need to deepen your borehole in the event that the water table goes down). 

4. Pump Installation: After drilling and assuming that you get water, the next step will be pump installation. Most drilling companies offer these services but you can engage your own plumber to cut costs. Depending on your source of power, you can either have a solar or electric pump. 

The size of the pump is usually determined by the 'head of the water', that is the depth of your borehole plus the additional distance outside the borehole (distance to the tank). When you buy your pump, I recommend that you request for a digital control box instead of the standard control box. The digital control box will help in switching off the pump when your borehole runs dry.

About Think Water: This article was published by Think Water. We offer FREE ONLINE expert advice to property owners who wish to or have boreholes drilled at their properties. 

We also work with pre-screened and trusted borehole drilling contractors who subscribe to quality workmanship and set standards of professional service. This ONLINE GUIDE is meant to be a one-stop platform where clients can easily find professional borehole drilling and maintenance contractors. 

Of late, many property owners have been crying foul over ‘poor and dishonesty service’ from some contractors. This may be a case of lack of information on the part of the client or truly dishonest service on the part of the contractor. 

This guide and our free expert advisory services will serve to solve both these problems.

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