I am a UK-based hydrogeologist with over 30 years experience as a
groundwater consultant in groundwater resources research, development and
management projects in Africa, the Middle East and Europe for World Bank (IBRD), Food and
Agricultural Organisation (FAO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UK Department for International Development (DfID),
European Environment Agency (EEA), UK Environment Agency (EA) and international consulting firms.
have sited, designed, supervised and tested numerous boreholes ranging
from shallow monitoring wells for environmental impact schemes
to boreholes nearly 1000m deep in major confined sandstone aquifers and from
village water supplies to major wellfields for urban and industrial supplies.
At present I am an independent Associate with the UK Water Resources
Associates (www.watres.com) and also an
member of the National Groundwater Association of America (www.ngwa.org).
Modern water well design
has developed from a combination of field experience, modelling studies and laboratory investigations by the water and oil industries.
The design of a water well can be relatively
straightforward but a more rigorous approach is needed for complex aquifer conditions,
certain types of wells and to minimise well construction and operating
costs. Rising energy costs have led to a greater emphasis on the economics of
groundwater abstraction whilst the design of groundwater abstraction schemes to
meet the continuing increase in water demands must consider resources sustainability, environmental
concerns and social issues.
The design of a well (or wellfield) can be
approached in different ways depending on the well purpose, type of
aquifer, etc. and must take account of any national and local standards.
Hence, a program that simply prepares a well design at the
press of a few buttons is more likely to limit the designer to a set design
procedure that may not be appropriate to the site conditions. Instead, I opted
for a simpler, worksheet-based approach for the Well Design Toolkit to allow the designer to select those calculations
appropriate to the aquifer conditions and more easily incorporate relevant standards. The input data and results can also
be stored or included in a report to provide an 'audit trail' behind the
Users and Further Information on Well Design
Aimed at the water professional, the Well Design Guide and
Well Design Toolkit can be used
to assist the design of a new well or to check the design of an existing well
(e.g. in litigation cases involving well problems).
Users include water agencies, consultancy
firms, drilling companies, material suppliers, NGOs, training courses and well
owners. Some background knowledge of hydrogeology is required as the Well Design Guide does
not cover well location, drilling,
logging or testing as these are all major subjects in their own right.
There are some excellent publications covering
different aspects of well design such as 'Groundwater and Wells' (Driscoll, 2008) or
by the National Groundwater
Association of America (NGWA,1999). Unfortunately, most websites describing the design of a
well tend to be rather general and do not
cover all of the research undertaken on well
design - particularly on hydraulic design criteria, which can be important if you happen to be in charge of designing an expensive
municipal supply well! The Well Design Guide brings together much of the
relevant research on well design and provides a useful source of
information for training courses.
Future plans include additional calculators for the Well Design
Toolkit to extend its capabilities (e.g. horizontal well design) and
tutorials with practical examples of how to design wells for different aquifer
To benefit the wider
groundwater community I hope to add an on-line forum for members to find advice
and news on water well