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A heavy concrete ring is placed on top of a well. The open center can be closed and locked. Buds on the ring offer support for a pulley, rope guide or pump.

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Cover to better the use of a well
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Introduced at users level Twentyfold cost reduction Applicable within poverty Health Comfort Rural as well as urban.


  • Prevent (fear for) contamination of water in the well. The water in a well should not be spoiled by things that fall into it, accidentally or on purpose. To prevent this and make that the water can be trusted by its users, it must be possible to close the well and lock access to it. Such a cover should be easily attached, removed and stored when not in use. Fear for contamination or poisoning is common. A well constructed and securely fastened cover prevents such fear.
  • Prevent accidents of people or animals falling into a well. A super structure on the well is enough precaution for animals, but a person must find something to get an hold on when bending over to inspect the well or hoist water.
  • Preparations must be easy to securely mount water lift facilities: a wooden rope guide, poles to attached a pulley support or a (rope) pump. When in the beginning it is sufficient to provide a support for a pulley, later it may become possible to mount a pump or other ways to lift water. The facility should have been prepared for such a common wish. Best is when different methods for lifting water can be used at the same time.
  • Assist access to the well for servicing. It must be possible to insert a (rope) ladder or to lower a person on a rope into the well for repair or cleaning. In case the well has to be dug deeper, the well cover has to be removed without damaging the the superstructure or the cover.
  • Create additional value for the space the well occupies. The space above the well can offer opportunities for a shade or storage space.


  • On the well's superstructure a solid concrete ring is mounted. Precondition for this is a ring is masoned from blocks or brick on top of the lining of a well or on top of the apron around the well. This ring extends about 60 cm above this apron. As the base for the cover and added facilities a ring, cast from concrete is put on top of it. This ring is kept in place by its weight. It takes more than two people to shift it or take it off. Such a ring can be cast from concrete on a spot close to the well. A construction manual published else where, gives detailed instruction how such a well cover can be made. The use of short bits of re-rod or steel wire makes the ring strong enough to be lifted. To economize on the use of cement, the concrete is poured between a fill of larger stones. Therefore the cost of such a ring is low enough for general application.
  • The large central opening can easily and securely be covered and locked with a padlock. The cover over the central opening in the ring can be made in two part from sheet metal, hinging from a central beam. When this cover is put into place the two half's fold out, the beam shifts into one ring cast into the ring, then is shifted back into a similar ring on the other side. A padlock can prevent shifting out.
  • Concrete buds are cast for mounting for mounting water lift facilities: a wooden rope guide, poles to attached a pulley support or a (rope) pump. With insignificant extra work and materials preparations can be made for additional use of the well cover ring while it is casted:
    - two buds can be cast on top of the ring to attach a pump and/or poles for a support for pulleys.
    - when users are accustomed to use rope guides, logs of an appropriate shape can be attached to the ring. In this case the ring is positioned just above the surrounding apron. users support their body by placing one foot on the ring while drawing the rope or lifting the bucket out.
    - some holes are spared into the ring at a predefined place, to make attaching such poles or other parts easy.
    - looped pieces of reinforcement bar are cast into the concrete and extend above its surface to attach the cover with the padlock or to safely attach a rope to.
  • On the ring buckets and head pans can be put to fill up. The ring is easy to lean against while pulling a rope. Users will appreciate if they need not put the bucket or head pan next to well into dirty water or mud. It is also easier to pour water from a bucket into a container when it is positioned higher up. When pulling a rope to hoist water one is inclined to lean forward. This can be done safely against the well cover ring.
  • Spill water runs off outwards to assure dirty or soapy water does not run back into the well. During casting of the ring its top is finished to slant outwards. A little slanting is enough for this purpose, more would hinder the above function as a support for buckets and head pans.
  • Poles can firmly be attached to the ring. These poles can carry a shade or a storage facility over the well. As lifting water from the well may be heavy work, a shade against the sun or rain could be welcome. When four strong poles can be fitted into holes in the concrete in a square position, a platform can be made on top of it to support a water tank. This water tank can be filled directly with the pump from the well. From such a higher placed tank, water can run through a hose to a nearby house.
    To prepare for seasonal inundation, the platform around the well may be raised above the highest expected water level. A platform above the well, if made large enough could be used to store emergency supplies.

  • Additional information

    Proposal for a method of well digging
    Good news is that I experienced in Senegal how local teams did excellent and affordable well digging. I assume around your place such people can also be contacted. But I do know that it is difficult for well builders to further deepen the well, once they reach the ground water table. There starts an other Demotech design. However we have still to little experience with this new bore hole method that I will describe now:
    This bore hole method is meant not for a rock soil. Our method is meant for sandy or clay soil. As such soil starts sliding when you try to dig into it, the normal way to prevent this is to lower concrete rings in the well. This is costly and takes gear and expertise to get it done properly. Demotech's proposal is to ask the local carpenter to compose from wooden battens tube like elements. Making a bore hole in the mud starts with placing the first tube element in the mud, With a heavy wooden ring this pipe element is driven into the mud. Then the mud inside is dug out with a cup attached to a long stick. The next wooden pipe element that fits on top of the first is then hammered down. In this way a bore hole of 4 meters deep can be made.
    In this way the traditional way of lifting water with a bucket can not be done anymore. However this problem is solved very well with the rope pump. The head of the rope pump can reach to the bottom of the wooden tube well and deliver clean water, that nobody can spoil by accidentally or on purpose trow in dirt.

    Planned progress

  • Photo's have to be added from its practical application in 1986 in project in Waipia, Ceram, Indonesia.
  • Design a lid to to lock the center hole in the well cover, without the chance to lose parts or a key into the well.
  • Test the value of wooden rope guides for hauling up water.
  • Prepare the existing manual for downloading

  • Internal links

    External Links

    • WHO report tackles Fluoride in Drinking-water
      Millions of people are exposed to excessive amounts of fluoride through drinking water. As a result, many suffer conditions ranging from mild dental fluorosis to crippling skeletal fluorosis.
      Low-cost solutions that can be applied at a local level do exist. Methods include: use of crushed clay pots, bone charcoal, contact precipitation, or use of activated alumina (absorptive filter). Fluoride in Drinking-water is one out of a series of WHO monographs, which address the management of other chemicals in drinking-water, such as arsenic or cyanotoxins.
    • Send us an email form about any relevant link, that should be added here

    What other people say...

    If you like you can add your own comment

    by - Tue Dec 06 (2005)
    Water Machine
    Dear Sir, We are contacting you after gotten your contact in search for a company that can handle supply of Water Machine for officials of a Multi-national agency in West Africa. The project is a large supply project as it cut across all the member nations. We will like to know your company's capability and interest to handle the project.And also you are to send us the spec/prices of the products to enable us submit to the contract board for examination and approvals. Be aware that we, are sourcing agent in this project, and we are entitle to 3% commission, if the contract is awarded to your company and fund transfered into your company's account. Thanks as await to hear from you asap. Mr.John Edoh.

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