Advantages & Limitations


  1. Simple. Compared to other well drilling approaches, the Baptist method is considered simple and the knowledge easily transferable.
  2. Local Materials. There are no special materials or parts required. All the materials can be purchased through a local hardware store and manufactured in a welding shop.
  3. Maintenance. Because of the simplicity of the method and the materials used, maintenance to the hand pump is fairly easy and thus capable of ensuring that down time is minimal
  4. Adaptable. The technology is also adaptable to local contexts. Depending on availability, alternative materials can be substituted.
  5. Inexpensive. The construction of the rig (including the drill stem, spout, pulley, drill bits, and tool kit) costs between $150-$300 US, depending on location and depth of well. The cost of a well (including well casing, filter, hand pump, and concrete sanitation pad) is approximately $50-$250 US, depending on location and depth of well.
  6. Lightweight. The materials required for drilling a well can be transported relatively easily, allowing for more remote wells to be drilled.
  7. Fast. Compared to other manual drilling methods, the Baptist method is considered a fast drilling procedure. Depending on soil conditions, rates of up to 100′ (30m) per day can be attained.
  8. Deep. Wells have been reportedly drilled to depths of 105m (345′).[1]


  1. Cannot drill through rock. The drilling method works best in unconsolidated material such as sand, loam, small gravel, and light rock. However, it will not penetrate hard original rock or boulders. Accordingly, it is limited to non-mountainous regions.
  2. Limited borehole. The diameter of the borehole should be less than 4″ (≈10cm) as it becomes increasingly difficult to insert the well casing into a wider borehole due to buoyancy and the amount of water to be displaced.  This limited diameter of the borehole corresponds to less water production per pump.
  3. Existing Water Supply. The process requires 1500-2000L (≈400-550 Gallons) of water supply. This is usually not a limitation but should be considered when determining whether to implement the Baptist drilling method or not.
  4. High Risk. The well drilling procedure is subject to several uncertainties, including: risk of poor water quality upon completion; uncertainty of soil conditions at a given depth (discovery of rocks or boulders results in having to abandon progress); potential for drill stem to snap or drill bit to break off; and potential to drop stem down borehole when adding or removing pieces.


[1] Waller, T. (2010). Water For All International. Retrieved from