Water Business

I’m starting a water well drilling and pump maintenance company!

This is the most exciting blog post I’ve ever written! As most of you know, it has been my dream since I was young to become an engineer, move to Africa, and work on increasing access to safe water. For the last 6 months, I have been discussing starting a water well drilling and pump maintenance company, and now I’m ready to get going!

Why start this company?

Many people in the rural areas near Gulu do not have access to improved water sources, and the existing drilling methods are too few, too expensive, or drill wells that are too shallow.

Water Sources:

44% of rural households in our area do not have access to improved water sources. That means that people must collect water from sources like these…

Cropped Water Source 1

Water source about 45 minutes from Gulu town.

Cropped Water Source 2

Water source about 45 minutes from Gulu town.

The water that is collected from these sources is not treated before it is consumed or used. The water from these sources are not clean, and it contains bacteria and other contaminants that make people sick.

Current Drilling Options:

Currently there are two main types of drilling options available:  manual drilling and  the big, mechanized rigs. Manual drilling options are much more affordable, but tend to be very shallow which limits the area that they work in and can reduce the water quality (because it can be contaminated from pit latrines, etc). The big rigs can drill through hard/rocky ground and can reach very deep water, but they can only reach areas that have good roadway access and are very expensive.

Fortunately for us, we stumbled across a Village Drill for resale in Uganda. The Village Drill was developed in the United States for use in developing countries. It is a manual drilling method, but it is designed to reach much deeper than other manual methods. This means it can easily be transported, can drill to deeper and cleaner water, and still be affordable.

Click here to see a video comparing the Village Drill to other manual drilling methods.

With this rig, we believe we can serve most of the drilling market in the area which currently has no available and affordable options. We know several NGOs in the area that have tried to hire a driller to come drill a well and were UNABLE TO FIND ONE! We hope to change that.

What will the Company do?

The company will drill wells, install hand pumps, offer pump maintenance/repair services, and educate communities on health and hygiene topics. Jobs will be created by hiring people for management, drilling, maintenance, and hygiene training.

How many people will be served?

Since this is a business, it can grow and develop to serve a lot of people! For the first year, we are hoping to be able to drill enough wells to provide at least 7,200 people with clean water and health and hygiene education. Many more may be served through the pump maintenance program as well.

Who is involved in this company?

Amazingly, there is a unique group of missionaries in Gulu right now that have an amazingly diverse set of skills to help make this company a reality. Also, we have identified highly qualified potential employees. For me, having a team like this is what gives this business a serious chance to make a huge impact.

Rachel (me) – You know who I am, so not much to explain, but just in case… I received my Engineering degree from the Colorado School of Mines and received my EIT license in 2008 in the State of Colorado. I have approximately 3 years working in Africa, 2 of which have been working with Lumi (solar business here in Gulu), and nearly 4 years experience working in water resources in Colorado. Since I am connected with WorldVenture, I will be have access to other resources through my agency as well. This includes possibly recruiting additional team members and advisors as needed, including a new missionary in Gulu who has an MBA!

Tim Darby – Tim and I are partnering together to make this business happen. In fact, he was the one to initiate this whole idea! He is a missionary with the BMS World Mission (a UK-based mission agency) and has been in Gulu for about 3.5 years. Has has a degree in Geology and a Masters in Water and Environmental Management from Loughborough University (which is a school I have followed since finishing my undergrad). He also worked as an environmental consultant for 6+ years before coming to Gulu. Since arriving in Uganda, Tim has completed many projects, but most importantly for this business, Tim completed a very rigorous studying in rural Northern Uganda that assessed water and sanitation needs in over two dozen communities. With Tim, comes the support of his agency as well. BMS has already been a HUGE help by connecting Tim to advisors and others who have started similar businesses in other parts of the world.

Joe Ovenden – Also based in Gulu with BMS. He manages the projects for BMS and has already been a great advisor for Tim and me.

Jesse Geiger – You know him already too, but for his role with this business, he’ll be using his economics background. He minored in Economics in college and a large part of his past work experience is in business modeling. He will help make sure that this business makes sense financially and is therefore sustainable.

Local team – Until we get a business formally organized, we cannot recruit local talent. That doesn’t mean that we haven’t identified great potential employees, though! Fortunately for us, we are connected to a local accountant (which are HARD to come by here) and several recent graduates of a WASH training program that was held by a local NGO.

How YOU can help!

The biggest thing we need help with is raising money for the drill rig. Buying the rig and getting it ready for work will cost about $20,000. I know that sounds like a lot, but if we are able to serve 7,200 people in the first year, that is less than $2.78 per person. That’s less than a Tall Cafe Latte at Starbucks!

We have raised $7,810 so far, and we currently have a matching campaign until May 1st, dollar-for-dollar up to $5,000!

Every dollar donated before May 1st will be doubled up to $5,000!

If are able to donate to the drill rig or learn more, please donate by clicking the link below:

I want to help increase access to drinking water!

Thank you SO much for all your support! If you have any creative ideas of how I might be able to raise this money, or any thoughts or questions about this business, please let me know.

Thank you again!


One thought on “Water Business

  1. I am thanking God for his goodness in giving you this opportunity to work in an area you are passionate about – and it is not overwhelming financially. So excited and happy for you – and proud of you for taking this step. Still praying for Lumi’s financial backing as well.


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