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Hydrogeology Journal

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 789–797 | Cite as

Assessment of well design and sustainability in hard-rock formations in northern Ghana

  • J. A. Akudago
  • K. Kankam-Yeboah
  • L. P. Chegbeleh
  • M. Nishigaki
Report

Abstract

Some of the main problems in well construction are associated with installation of casing, especially in the overburden. A total of 1,485 lined and open wells, drilled in the hard rocks of the Precambrian basement complex and Palaeozoic sedimentary (Voltaian) formations in northern Ghana were studied. Of these, 500 were directly monitored. It was observed that the surfaces within the production zones of open wells had weathered, leading to silting and reductions in depth and yield, posing physical water-quality challenges. Also, the average life span of the open wells is about 15 years. The fully lined wells, on the other hand, perform very well with time, lasting for over 40 years on average, with a more sustainable physical water quality over their life span. The comparative cost of constructing an open well was found to be about 26% less than that of a lined well due to less construction material requirements. Although open wells may be relatively cheaper than lined wells to construct in hard rocks, the life span is shorter and should not be encouraged for groundwater exploitation especially in community or rural water supply schemes.

Keywords

Water supply Groundwater development Well sustainability Hard-rock formation Ghana 

Résumé

Quelques-uns des principaux problèmes liés à la construction des puits sont associés au tubage, et particulièrement dans la couverture. 1,485 puits, chemisés ou à ciel ouvert, forés dans les roches dures du socle complexe Précambrien et les formations sédimentaires du Paléozoïque (Voltaien), dans le nord du Ghana, ont été étudiés. 500 d’entre eux ont été directement contrôlés. Il a été observé que les surfaces situées au niveau des zones de production des puits à ciel ouvert s’étaient érodées, entraînant un colmatage et une diminution de la profondeur et du rendement posant des problèmes de qualité physique de l’eau. De plus, la durée de vie moyenne des puits à ciel ouvert est d’environ 15 ans. Les puits chemisés, au contraire, ont une bonne tenue dans le temps et fonctionnent au-delà de 40 ans en moyenne, présentant une qualité physique de l’eau viable tout au long de leur durée de vie. L’étude comparative du prix de construction entre les deux types de puits montre qu’un puits à ciel ouvert est environ 26% moins cher car les besoins en matériaux de construction sont moindres. Bien que les puits à ciel ouvert soient relativement moins chers que les puits chemisés lors de forage dans les roches dures, leur durée de vie est plus courte et ils ne devraient pas être conseillés dans le cadre d’exploitation d’eau souterraine, particulièrement pour les plans d’alimentation en eau de communes ou de villages ruraux.

Resumen

Algunos de los problemas principales en construcción de pozos están asociados con la instalación del revestimiento, sobre todo en la cubierta sedimentaria sin consolidar. Se estudiaron 1,485 pozos revestidos y abiertos, perforados en rocas duras en formaciones del complejo basamento Precámbrico y del sedimentario Palaeozoico (Voltaiano) en el norte de Ghana. Se monitorearon 500 de éstos directamente. Fue observado que las superficies dentro de las zonas de producción en pozos abiertos tenían meteorización, causando obstrucción con sedimentación y reducciones en la profundidad y productividad, derivando en aparentes problemas físicos de calidad de agua. También, que la vida útil promedio de los pozos abiertos es aproximadamente 15 años. Los pozos totalmente revestidos, por otro lado, trabajan muy bien con el tiempo, durando más de 40 años en promedio, con una calidad física de agua más sostenible a lo largo de su vida útil. Se encontró que el costo comparativo de construir un pozo abierto era aproximadamente 26% menos que un pozo revestido, debido a la menor necesidad de materiales de construcción. Aunque los pozos abiertos pueden ser relativamente más baratos que los pozos revestidos construidos en las rocas duras, su vida media es más corta y no deberían recomendarse para la explotación del agua subterránea, especialmente en proyectos de suministro de agua rurales o comunitarios.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors are very grateful to the management and staff of the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) of the Upper East Region (UER) for the assistance given during data collection and preparation of this report. Our appreciation goes to Mrs. B. B. Batiir (Former Regional Director, CWSA, UER) and Mr. Ralph Nampusuor, formally with the CWSA, UER and Mr. William Ayi-Bisa. The authors highly appreciate the help of all other persons that the authors may have contacted for information or any form of assistance. The authors are also grateful to the Hydrogeology Journal reviewers, whose constructive comments have greatly improved the report.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. A. Akudago
    • 1
    • 3
  • K. Kankam-Yeboah
    • 2
  • L. P. Chegbeleh
    • 1
    • 3
  • M. Nishigaki
    • 1
  1. 1.Geo-Environmental Evaluation Lab, Faculty of Environmental ScienceOkayama UniversityOkayamaJapan
  2. 2.CSIR-Water Research InstituteAccraGhana
  3. 3.World Vision Ghana Rural Water Project, PMBTamaleGhana

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