The importance of borehole construction and well efficiency

My research on borehole drilling, good borehole construction and well efficiency

By Corné Engelbrecht

After attending the 2020 workshop “Groundwater: Setting the standards – Borehole Drilling; Pumping Tests and Monitoring”, hosted by The International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH) South Africa held November 2020 – I started my own research on borehole well efficiency and clogging. This was as part of my master’s degree in hydrogeology at the Institute for Groundwater Studies (IGS), University of the Free State. 

The need for borehole construction and drilling guidelines/standards were discussed at length during the IAH workshop.  This was specifically evident during the recent drought experienced in Cape Town.  The drought has led to a large number of new boreholes being drilled throughout the region with a large percentage of boreholes having issues due to incorrect borehole drilling methods/borehole construction used and poor borehole management (highly fluctuating water levels during abstraction).  This can lead to issues such as clogging (due to iron biofouling), relating to borehole well efficiency which can have severe long-term operational and financial implications.  

The need for good borehole construction

Part of my role as a hydrogeologist is to educate people about groundwater and the protection and sustainable utilization thereof. I recently presented during a webinar hosted by the Ground Water Division (GWD) of the Geological Society of South Africa (GSSA) presenting on “What geologists need to know about borehole construction and borehole drilling best practice guidelines.”

See more about the presentation here: https://gwd.org.za/news-articles/event-debrief-what-hydrogeologists-need-know-about-borehole-construction-pumps-vsds-0 

11th International Symposium on Managed Aquifer Recharge (ISMAR 11)

In a drive to gain further knowledge of my research topic of good borehole drilling and well efficiency, I was privileged to travel to Los Angeles, California, United States of America to visit and get a tour of the Roscoe Moss factory and to attend and present my research at the 11th International Symposium on Managed Aquifer Recharge (ISMAR 11) during April 2022. 

My visit to the Roscoe Moss factory gave me further insight into the manufacturing process of different borehole casings and screens and this included a debrief of a recent study completed by Amphos 21, a hydrogeological and environmental consultancy based in Spain, investigating the fluid dynamics using numerical modelling of water flow through different screen types for aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) well design.  It was a great opportunity to sit down and exchange ideas with experts spread across three continents.

The ISMAR 11 conference hosted a wide variety of technical talks and discussions within the scope of managed aquifer recharge.  The conference started off with a workshop on achieving successful groundwater recharge and recovery through wells presented by leading ASR experts David Pyne (ASR Resources) and Russell Martin (Wallbridge Gilbert Aztec) Monday morning.  This was followed by three days of technical presentations with field trips scheduled for the fifth and final day of the conference.  The field trips included visiting Orange Country Water District groundwater recharge basins, water treatment facilities and learning centres.

My presentation: Borehole Well Efficiency and Clogging

I presented a summary of my research during the ISMAR x student session on Tuesday, fast-paced postgraduate research focussed session and then gave a detailed presentation on Wednesday during one of the technical sessions. 

Overall, it was an excellent opportunity to have technical discussions with industry-leading professionals and to be exposed to top class scientific research.  I am very optimistic about the future of the groundwater industry both internationally and in South Africa.


If you need assistance with borehole well efficiency and good borehole drilling and management practices please contact us

info@geoss.co.za or Corne corne@geoss.co.za 

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