Updated on October 26, 2023


Created on August 27, 2015

The Village Drill

The Village Drill is a human-powered drill for installing boreholes in remote locations.

Developed By
  1. WHO Lives, Brigham Young University
Tested By
  • Brigham Young University
Content Partners


Product Description

The Village Drill is a human-powered drill designed for drilling boreholes to create access to water. The Village Drill can create boreholes up to 20 cm diameters and 90 m deep, and can easily be disassembled for transport and re-use.

Target Regions


Target SDGs

SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

Market Suggested Retail Price


Target Users (Target Impact Group)

Community, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

Distributors / Implementing Organizations

The Village Drill technology is distributed through WHOlives.org and A Better Drill Inc. Implementing organizations include World Vision, Samaritan Purse, and Rotary International, among others.

Manufacturing/Building Method

The product is currently manufactured in Utah, USA.

Intellectural Property Type

Patent Protected

User Provision Model

Users can contact the manufacturer and request a quote. The Village Drill is typically operated by 6 young men and women. WHOlives.org has launched a donation model that funds the purchase of a Village Drill for an entrepreneur and the entrepreneur slowly pays back the donor as they collect drilling fees from communities.

Distributions to Date Status

60 drills in 23 countries.

Borehole size (cm)

10.16 – 20.32 cm

Maximum well depth (m)

90 m

Drilling speed (m/day)

45 m/day

Materials included


Expertise and additional materials required

Safety equipments, Labor

Project time (hrs)

24 – 72 hrs

Design Specifications

The Village Drill is designed to drill a 6” – 8” borehole at depths up to 90 meters. It is claimed to drill through most soil types including light to medium grade rock and clay. Interview with representative The drilling method used is a rotary “wet drill” process which allows quick boring and removal of cuttings as the borehole is drilled.

Product Schematics

Technical Support

WHOlives.org provides technical support through written, video, and in-person help. Interview with representative

Replacement Components

By design, the Village Drill has few moving or wearable parts available online by the manufacturer. On-site maintenance is possible with basic knowledge and commonly available tools. Interview with representative. Interview with representative


The Village Drill designers claim that it will provide years of uninterrupted service.

Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters

The drill covers 75% more area for 75% less cost than a typical drill rig.

Vetted Performance Status



No hazards listed

Complementary Technical Systems


Academic Research and References

Pack, A.T. and Mattson, C.A., An Assessment of Village Drill Sustainability, With Recommendations, ASME 2016 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences, Cleveland, OH, USA, August 6-9, 2017.

Mattson, C.A, Wood, A.E and Renouard, J. Village Drill: A Case Study in Engineering for Global Development, With Five Years of Data Post Market-Introduction, ASME 2016 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences, Charlotte, NC, USA, August 21-24, 2016.

“Village Drill Nation,” Village Drill. Available: https://villagedrill.com/village-drill-nation/

“Partners,” Village Drill. Available: https://villagedrill.com/the-drill/partners/

“Compare,” Village Drill. Available: https://villagedrill.com/the-drill/compare/

“Competitive landscape,” Royal Eijkelkamp. Available: https://www.royaleijkelkamp.com/products/augers-samplers/soil-augers-samplers/hand-augers/hand-auger-set-bayonet-connection-ergonomic/

“Goal 6,” Sdgs.un.org. Available: https://sdgs.un.org/goals/goal6

“FAQs,” Village Drill. Available: https://villagedrill.com/the-drill/faqs/

“Value,” Village Drill. Available: https://villagedrill.com/the-drill/value/

“Homepage,” Village Drill. Available: https://villagedrill.com/

Villagedrill.com. Available: https://villagedrill.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Village-Drill52018.pdf

“Shop,” Villagedrill.com. Available: https://villagedrill.com/shop/

K. Danert, “Rural water supply network publication 2015,” Rural-water-supply.net. Available: https://www.rural-water-supply.net/_ressources/documents/default/1-653-34-1442223588.pdf

T. Talks, “Design for the developing world: Christopher Mattson at TEDxBYU,” 29-Apr-2012. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wbuvdAe6Yg

M. Locklear and M. Anderson, “Village Drill Blog,” Village Drill, 18-May-2023. Available: https://villagedrill.com/village-drill-blog/

Compliance with regulations

The drill bits and swivels used in the Village Drill design are purchased as commercial-grade and certified to international standards. No further known standard cited by the Village Drill designers. Designs of manually drilled boreholes vary between and within countries. African countries that provide key official parameters or where standards have been set include Chad, Guinea, Nigeria and Kenya. A comprehensive overview of specifications for Manually Drilled Wells and standards is available in the RWSN Manual Drilling Compendium (2015).

Evaluation methods

Field trials. The manufacturer cites cost vs. capabilities vs. sustainability as criteria for evaluation.

Other Information

Design For The Developing World: Christopher Mattson at TEDxBYU Village Drill Blog

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