There are over thirty known water-born diseases, everything from bacterial to viral to parasitic infections. Some examples of these devastating diseases are typhiod fever, cholera and dysentery. Sadly, the most common ailment is severe diarrhea. According to the World Health Organization, diarrheal disease is responsible for the deaths of 1.8 million people every year. It was estimated that 88% of that burden is attributed to an unsafe water supply and is concentrated in children in developing countries. In fact, in Uganda alone, one in five children under the age of five, dies as a result of diarrheal disease.
Now, here’s the science part of it. Water wells access the clean, naturally filtered water which lies below the layers of the earth's soil. Most groundwater, that is, water found well below the surface, is free of disease-causing organisms. This occurs because the water is filtered by the upper layers of soil and rock as it soaks into the ground.
Properly constructed water wells take advantage of this clean, naturally sanitary water. Drills can dig deep below the surface to extract water that can then be pumped and filtered for particles, using a handle on the installed well. Hygenic construction includes adding disinfectant chlorine to the drilling fluid, casing the well with sanitary materials and assembling all parts in a safe, water-tight manner.
For maintanence purposes, the water quality from a well should be tested for safety once a year. This is done by measuring the presence of a common group of indicator bacteria, called the total coliform group, which can ensure the sanitary protection of the well and water system.
Check out our Water Related Links page to learn more about the Science of Water.