Borehole drilling has become one of the most active businesses in Zimbabwe. Water shortages, the booming construction industry, and the rising uptake of irrigation in agriculture are some of the reasons why. If you are thinking of starting a borehole drilling business in Zimbabwe you stand to make some money. Increased activity in borehole drilling also means shady business practices begin to take root. There is competition and some businesses resort to unethical business practices. In this article, I shall discuss some of the things clients should be wary of when dealing with borehole drilling businesses.

General Steps To Follow In Getting A Borehole Drilled

Water Surveyor

Their responsibility is to figure out the ideal borehole siting i.e. where it should be drilled. Average costs of getting this one is between US$80 and US$100. (Side Note: borehole drilling companies usually do not want to do surveying themselves. This is meant to ensure you do not blame them in the event water is not found. Thus you must deal with reputable and efficient water surveyors.)

Borehole Drilling Permit

You then have to get this permit from ZINWA. You simply have to go to ZINWA offices with the surveyor’s report, a copy of your national ID, and proof that you own the property on which the borehole is to be drilled. There will also be an application fee required. The application is nothing compared to how you will be heavily fined if you do not follow this process.

After these two steps, you can proceed to choose a borehole drilling company.

Additional Things To Note

It is usually advised that you should pay once the drilling equipment is onsite. This will save you the trouble of borehole drilling businesses that might be out to dupe you. Bear in mind that mileage costs might be applicable if the borehole siting is outside the normal operating radius of the company.

The mark of a good borehole drilling company can be them doing a confirmatory survey. Despite a water surveyor having done the survey already, some companies can do a confirmatory survey to ascertain the existence of water before drilling. Noble companies will actually inform you if it is a dry hole.

Once water is struck, the next thing will be the installation of the pump. A pump can be electric or solar-powered; you can have the drilling company install or you can look for a plumber, it is up to you.

Starts Off With The Choice

Your whole experience in getting a borehole drilled and the experience of using it can all be traced back to the company you would have chosen. It would be advisable to settle for established companies that have a proven track record. Where possible you can even find out and even converse with prior clients who would have dealt with a particular borehole drilling company. If a company does not have positive reviews then that is a tell-tale sign they might not be the real deal.

Also look at things like the company having an active website, personalized emails, and social media accounts. Such platforms will help ascertain the authenticity and traceability of track record. Some established companies now even have specialized equipment that can detect exactly at which depth water will be struck. The specialized equipment can even project how many litres of water per day can be fed out. This all goes to show you the importance of dealing with reputable, well-established companies.

Contracts Are Important

When dealing with a borehole drilling company there must be a contract to be signed. Well-established companies have contracts. You must ensure you take your time to go through and understand every clause. You can even seek clarity from them or have a lawyer help you in correctly interpreting everything in it before signing. If a borehole drilling company does not have a contract you must sign, that is a red flag! Strangely though, it seems most borehole drilling projects are being done without contracts. It is high time that ends because there is an unending list of people who have been duped through shady business practices.

A contract will help you understand a lot concerning the terms and conditions. For example, some companies require you to pay upfront for down to 40 metres. This would mean if they have to go deeper, from 40 metres they would charge metre (on average, US$50 per metre). A contract would clearly enunciate all this as opposed to just verbal stuff.

There are also issues surrounding incidents when water is not found, what happens next? These are scenarios that would in principle have to be detailed in a contract. A well-constituted borehole drilling company will most definitely have contracts in place.

Wet Hole Contract

It is highly advisable to opt for this one since it will guarantee that water is found. Under normal circumstances, when a dry hole is encountered a client must have their money refunded if water is not found. Unfortunately, most people have boreholes drilled under an arrangement where in the event of a dry hole or impenetrable rock bed no money is refunded. This usually happens for those standard 40-metre boreholes.

With a wet hole contract, the company will keep looking till they find where water or is. They will keep trying till they are absolutely convinced water cannot be struck, at which point they will refund you. However, a wet hole contract is typically quite expensive. For instance, it can cost around US$7000 or so – costs do vary though.

Some who do borehole flushing have had incidents where they found 140-millimetre casings were used instead of 180-millimetre ones. Some boreholes were drilled to about 18 to 24 metres yet the client would have been told it is 40 metres. This means when the drilling is being done being onsite to ascertain these things can be necessary. For instance, a pipe is 6 metres which means you can physically count as they insert them. Hopefully, this article helps.