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Constructing Wells by Stepping Down Method

Speaking of assistance to regain livelihood, how can you “regain” “livelihood?” This time around, I’d like to answer to this question.

Returnees JEN is supporting are living in agricultural regions. Before the conflict, most of the households were engaged in agriculture. During the time while they were evacuating, however, lands were devastated, farming equipment and water supply facilities were stolen. After they came back to their homeland, they manage to engage in farming on a small scale during the rainy season. In the dry season, however, they have no choice but to do day-labor jobs and they are at risk of losing these jobs at any time. JEN is supporting these people that they will be able to engage in farming throughout the year and make a steady income.
One of these main support activities is to construct agricultural wells. As long as they have well water, they can continue farming even during the dry season when it never rains. Do you know how to build a well?
There are several methods to build a well. I will show you a special method among these.
It is called “Stepping Down Method.”
The usual method goes like this: you use an excavator and dig the ground 7.5 meters at once, pile up concrete blocks from the bottom, plaster both inside and outside, fill a gap between the wall and the well to finish, a well is completed.
On the other hand, the procedure of “Stepping Down Method” is a little different from that of this usual method.

1.Dig the ground by an excavator or by hand work 2 meters to 5 meters until water comes out.

2.Set up a Base Ring Beam (base).

3.Pile up blocks to 1 to 2 meters.


5.Wait until the well sinks by the weight of the blocks.

6.After the well sank, pile up the blocks and plaster again, repeat this procedure until the well sinks to the stated depth, add the finishing touches to the well, then it is completed.

【Image drawing of Stepping Down Method】

Why do we adopt a special method like this? It is because the project area in Kilinocci District is near the sea The soil is soft because it contains a lot of sand and clay. If you dig through the ground at once, the wall will collapse immediately When you construct a well by this Stepping Down Method, you can reduce the risk that the wall collapses since the well sinks silently into the sand on its own. 

The construction of the well started from the end of July and currently it is in the midst of the plan. The local people seem that they can hardly wait for the completion of the well, saying, “We will be free from conveying water from far-away wells again and again every day, which takes us more than 30 minutes each time.”  “We will be able to water the land any time.”, “We will be able to share water to nearby households who don’t have wells.”

We’d like to complete the construction of all the wells before November when the rainy season start.

Program Officer
Arisa Nishida

【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated.

September 17, 2015 in Sri Lanka |