Water well drilling: tips and key points to consider in water well design

Published: 31 March 2023
Abstract Views: 585
PDF: 815
Publisher's note
All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article or claim that may be made by its manufacturer is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.


Thousands of water wells are drilled every day to abstract groundwater for a range of purposes. These wells are frequently sited and designed without adequate knowledge of the local hydrogeology and the targeted aquifer. Unfortunately, uninformed well siting and design is a common practice not only in Europe but also in many developing countries. The practice can not only jeopardize basic well function but also lead to a number of widely cited consequences to the environment, such as, undesired aquifer water mixing, hazardous soil subsidence, and the drying up of surface water bodies or springs. This brief paper highlights the key groundwater investigation procedures for more informed well siting and design to help mitigate against undesired environmental consequences. The subject has been discussed in recent literature, however this paper contributes practical insight based on the author’s real-world experience that may be valuable to the practitioner. The paper describes important procedures which should always be part of any water well project, regardless how much water is to be extracted. The paper addresses three issues critical to siting and designing wells: 1) the need for preliminary investigations and potential environmental impacts 2) the key experts that should be involved in these investigations; and 3) the core tasks of the hydrogeologist. Explanatory figures and references are given.

Alley, W,M., Reilly, T,E. & Franke, O,L. (1999). Sustainability of ground-water resources, U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1186, 79 p. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3133/cir1186

Australian Drilling Industry Training Committee. (1997). Drilling: the manual of methods, applications, and management. CRC Press.

Banks, D., Morland., G., Frengstad, B. (2005). Use of non-parametric statistics as a tool for the hydraulic and hydrogeochemical characterization of hard rock aquifers. Scottish journal of Geology 41(1): 69-79 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1144/sjg41010069

Brassington, R., (2007). Field Hydrogeology. Open Univ. Press J. Wiley and Sons DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/9780470057032

Driscoll, F,G, (1986). Groundwater and wells, Johnson Division.

Fileccia, A. (2015). Some simple procedures for the calculation of the influence radius and well head protection areas (theoretical approach and a field case for a water table aquifer in an alluvial plain) Italian Journal of Groundwater n. 141, https://doi.org/ 10.7343/AS-117-15-0144 DOI: https://doi.org/10.7343/as-117-15-0144

Franke, O.,L., Reilly, T,E., Pollock, D,W., & LaBaugh, J,W. (1998). Estimating areas contributing recharge to wells – Lessons from previous studies, U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1174, 14 p. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3133/cir1174

Freeze, R.A, & Cherry, J,A. (1979). Groundwater, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey,

Heath, R,C. (1983). Basic ground-water hydrology, U.S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 2220, 84 p.

Kasenow, M. (2001). Applied Ground-Water Hydrology and Well Hydraulics 2nd Ed. 15

Kresic, N., & Mikszewski, A. (2013). Hydrogeological conceptual site models Data Analysis and Visualization, CRC Press DOI: https://doi.org/10.1201/b12151

Kresic, N. (2007). Hydrogeology and groundwater modeling, CRC Press DOI: https://doi.org/10.1201/9781420004991

Kruseman, G.,P., de Ridder, N,A., Verweij, J,M. (2009). Analysis and evaluation of pumping test data. ILRI n. 47.

Maurice, L., Taylor, R,G., Tindimugaya, C. et al. (2019). Characteristics of high-intensity groundwater abstractions from weathered crystalline bedrock aquifers in East Africa. Hydrogeol J 27, 459–474 https://doi.org/10.1007/s10040-018-1836-9 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10040-018-1836-9

Misstear, B. (2012). Some key issues in the design of water wells in unconsolidated and fractured rock aquifers, Italian Journal of Groundwater n.129, https://doi.org/10.7343/AS-006-12-0013 DOI: https://doi.org/10.7343/as-006-12-0013

Misstear B., Banks D., Clark L. (2006). Water wells and boreholes. John Wiley and Sons, LTD DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/0470031344

Sterrett, R,J,. 0978779304, 9780978779306. (2007). Groundwater and Wells. 812 p. Johnson Screens

Fileccia, A. (2023). Water well drilling: tips and key points to consider in water well design. Acque Sotterranee - Italian Journal of Groundwater, 12(1), 63–73. https://doi.org/10.7343/as-2023-656


Download data is not yet available.