Borehole Drilling in Kenya...

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Irrigation Boreholes

An irrigation borehole is a borehole specifically designed and utilized for agricultural irrigation purposes. It is a drilled borehole that taps into underground water sources to provide a reliable and sustainable water supply for irrigation systems. irrigation boreholes offer farmers greater control over their water supply, improve agricultural productivity.

Commercial Boreholes

A commercial borehole is a drilled well that is created with the primary purpose of extracting water for commercial use or profit-generating activities. Unlike domestic boreholes that typically serve individual households or small-scale water needs, commercial boreholes are designed to meet the higher demands of commercial, industrial, or institutional entities.

commercial borehole in kenya

Domestic Borehole

A domestic borehole refers to a drilled well that is created primarily to provide water for residential households or small-scale domestic purposes. It is designed to meet the water needs of individual homeowners or a limited number of households, typically on private properties or rural areas where access to public water supply systems may be limited or unreliable.

Solar panel

Solar Powered Borehole

A solar-powered borehole refers to a type of borehole system that utilizes solar energy to power the pumping equipment and extract water from underground sources. It combines solar panels, a pump, and a control system to provide a sustainable and environmentally friendly solution for water extraction.

Borehole drilling is the process of creating a deep hole or well in the ground to access underground water resources. Borehole drilling in Kenya is a significant undertaking that requires adherence to various legal and regulatory equirements. 

The borehole drilling process in Kenya involves several steps. Firstly, a hydrogeological survey is conducted to determine the water source’s location and depth. Permit acquisition from the Water Resources Authority (WRA) and NEMA permit. 

The drilling process utilizes rotary drilling methods, with a drill bit attached to a drill string. The borehole is then lined with casing, and screens are installed in the water-bearing sections. 

Well development and test pumping are carried out to clean the borehole and assess water yield. Pump selection is based on the desired flow rate and head, and water quality tests are conducted. Borehole equipping includes the installation of pumps and pipes, and optional auxiliary services may be provided.

 The timeline for drilling a borehole ranges from approximately 30 to 15 days, depending on how fast the permits are processed. 

drilling technologies Kenya limited

Who are Drilling Technologies Kenya Limited?

Drilling Technologies is the leading drilling company in Kenya specializing in borehole installation and providing comprehensive borehole services.

We are Equipped with advanced well drilling machines and drilling rigs, we have established ourselves as experts in the drilling industry.

Our professional team employs cutting-edge drilling equipment and techniques to carry out the drilling process efficiently. Whether it’s utilizing the power of drilling rigs or employing manual borehole drilling methods in remote areas, Drilling Technologies Kenya Limited ensures the successful completion of borehole projects.

With expertise spanning the entire drilling process, ranging from conducting hydrogeological surveys to identify optimal locations, to the installation of casing and gravel packing, Drilling Technologies Kenya Limited excels in providing reliable borehole services to domestic, commercial, and industrial clients. Our strong emphasis on customer satisfaction distinguishes us in the industry. We recognize the significance of accessing clean and dependable borehole water, and our dedication to quality and professionalism sets us apart. For borehole drilling quotations in Kenya, you can contact us.

What is the Cost of Drilling a Borehole in Kenya?

drilling technologies Kenya limited
RequirementsCostTime Taken
Hydrogeological surveyKSH 40,0007 days
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
NEMA Permit
Water Resource Authority (WRA) Permit

KSH 50,000
15- 30 days
Test pumping

Ksh 5,500- 6, 500 per Meter
4- 7 days

The drilling and development of a borehole in Kenya needs a substantial financial investment, as the cost is influenced by several factors. These factors include the geographical location, soil type, drilling depth, equipping requirements, and other variable costs. It is important to consider these factors when estimating the price of drilling a borehole in Kenya.

A hydrogeological survey can cost around KSH 50, 000  depending on site location. This survey gives the feasible depth of drilling, soil formation, quality and quantity water. Hydro-geological survey is a requirement by WRMA for a permit.

The EIA and NEMA permit will cost approximately Ksh 50, 000. Our borehole drilling costs will range between Ksh. 5,500 to 6,500 per meter. The costing is based on hydrological condition, location and the distance to site.

What are the requirements to drill a borehole in Kenya?

Compliance with various legal and regulatory requirements is necessary for borehole drilling in Kenya. These requirements, known as borehole regulations Kenya, outline the guidelines and standards that must be followed during the drilling process. The following are the requirements: 

Hydrogeological survey

Hydrogeological survey is done to determine that underground water potential, approximate depth of drilling, the site location, the nature of rock and soil formation of the site. This information will help in determining the cost of drilling, casing material and application of permits to relevant authorities. The survey must be carried out by independent, qualified and duly registered hydrogeologist.  Below is a picture of a Hydrogeological survey done in Athiriver, Machakos county.

Hydrological Survey Done in Machakos

 Environmental Impact Assessment 

Depending on the location of the drilling site, an environmental impact assessment may be required before drilling starts. The EIA is done to assess the potential environmental impact of the drilling activity in the immediate environment.

National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) Permit

NEMA must assess the environmental effects of drilling the borehole in the location. The assessment report gives both positive and negative effects on the environment should the drilling be done. Should the project have no negative effects that may be hazardous to the environment, then a green light permit is issued.

Water Resource Authority (WRA) Permit

WRA is a state cooperation mandated to regulate the use of all water resources within Kenya’s jurisdiction. For borehole drilling process to commence, WRA must issue an authorization license which is a green light to drill. However, the hydrogeologist survey report must be submitted first.

Drillers License

The drilling company or individual doing the borehole drilling must have a valid drillers license duly issued by the Ministry of Water and Irrigation. Drilling technology holds a drilling license issued by the ministry of water and irrigation. 

Health and Safety Requirements

The drilling company must fully comply with health and safety regulations as outlined in the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

Payment of Fees

The applicant must pay all the prescribed fees for borehole drilling permit, EIA, among other borehole drilling related permits.

Note that the requirements for drilling a borehole in Kenya may vary depending on the location, depth of the borehole as well as the intended use of the water. Besides, it is advisable to consult with relevant authorities to ensure full compliance with all legal and regulatory requirements.

What is Hydrogeological Survey?

A hydrogeological survey includes figuring out where to drill a borehole, what kind of soil is there, and how deep it needs to be. This survey is very important because it helps find the best drilling settings and is a key part of getting government approvals, such as NEMA and WARMA certifications. It gives important information about the area’s geology and the amount of groundwater that could be there. Also, the information gathered during the study helps figure out the average depth of boreholes in Kenya, which is useful information for future drilling projects. 

How to get water resource authority permit (WRA)?

The process of getting WRA permit involves submitting an application, getting an authorization to construct abstraction works, which is followed by issuance of a WRA water permit. Pursuant to Sec. 5 of the water Act 2016, every water resource is vested in and held by the National Government in trust for the people of Kenya, subject to any rights of the user granted by or under the Act.

However, the authorization is an intermediary phase in WRA permit processing. This phase allows for water abstraction works to commence as well as fulfill other conditions before issuance of permit. As such, the users are obliged to report back to WRA after borehole drilling and development before they are permitted to use the water.

Do you need a NEMA Permit?

Yes, a NEMA permit is needed. Once the EIA is done, the report is submitted to NEMA. If NEMA is satisfied with the EIA findings that the borehole drilling activity won’t impact the environment, the authority issues a bore drilling license.

What is the borehole drilling process in Kenya?

Borehole drilling process in Kenya involves several steps:

Step 1: Hydrogeological Survey

Hydrogeological survey is the first step and is done to determine where the water is. It establishes the location, soil formation and depth to which drilling will be done. The survey is often done using a combination of Vertical Electrical Sounding (VES) and water dowsing to identify aquifers as wells as a geophysical indication of the underneath area. The information obtained is analysed. Besides, the geologist will evaluate the performance of neighbouring boreholes before giving the final report.

Step 2: Permit Acquisition

Before the actual borehole drilling process commences, it is mandatory to acquire a license from the Water Resources Authority (WRA) as well as a “No Objection” letter from the local Water Resources Users Association (WRUA). For borehole drilling projects near public facilities such as school or market, an Environmental Impact Assessment should be conducted and the report submitted to the NEMA for approval.

Step 3: Actual Drilling

Borehole drilling is done using advanced well drilling machines also referred to as drilling  rigs. The rotary drilling method is the most common method of drilling boreholes in Kenya. Here, a drill bit is attached to a string of drill pipes that are interconnected into a drill string.  So, as the drill strings rotate, the drill bit grinds the soil and rocks beneath to create a hole of a specified diameter. The ground soil and rocks are flushed out of the hole as the drilling continues using drilling fluid or compressed air.

Step 4:Borehole Casing and Gravel Packing

Once the water is reached, the borehole is lined using steel or plastic pipes referred to as well casing. The purpose of casings is to strengthen the hole thus protecting it from collapse. Besides, the casings act as sanitary seals that keep the well safe from contamination risks.

Also, screens are installed in the water bearing sections to allow water to flow up the well while preventing small soil particles from entering. It is necessary to record drilling logs during the drilling process as it comes in handy in determining the ideal depth for borehole installation of screens and gravel packs.

The casing diameter is often smaller that the drilled hole. The annulus – space between the drilled hole and the casing is back filled with gravel. With the gravel in place, fine sand particles won’t enter the borehole through the screens. They also prevent the walls of the hole from collapsing onto the screen which may happened depending on the geology.

Step 5: Well Development

Well development is the act of cleaning out the silt and clay introduced during drilling. Well development is done by flushing which also increases the rate of water movement from the aquifer to the borehole.

Step 6: Test Pumping

Test pumping is usually done to determine amount of water that can be drawn from the borehole in the long term minus pumping the borehole dry. Therefore, abstraction from the borehole should never exceed natural refresh. 

Step 7: Pump Selection

When choosing a pump to deliver water from a borehole, electric submersible pumps are typically utilized. These pumps are designed to be fully submerged in water, featuring a hermetically sealed motor that is attached to the pump body. It is important to select a pump with the appropriate flow rate and head. The flow rate determines the volume of water the pump can deliver per unit of time, while the head refers to the vertical difference between the pump’s installation point and the highest point where water needs to be pumped. By carefully considering the flow rate and head requirements, you can make an informed decision when choosing a pump for your borehole.

Step 8: Water Quality Test

Water quality test is carried out in a credited laboratory to determine the suitability of the borehole water for domestic use, irrigation or any other use. While some boreholes yield pure neutral water, others may yield saline water which will need treatment before use.

Step 9: Borehole Equipping 

Borehole equipping involves installation of pumps. Solar submersible, electric submersible or diesel pumps may be installed in the borehole as per the expert advice. Equally, uPVC pipes or HDPE pipes are immersed into the borehole depending on the depth.

Step: Auxiliary Services

In Kenya, auxiliary services encompass optional extras such as pipe installation, plumbing, tank tower construction, tank installation, irrigation, and more. However, these auxiliary services are quoted separately from the main service, which may include the installation of a borehole water purifier for ensuring clean and safe drinking water.

What is Test Pumping a Borehole?

The process of test pumping entails connecting a test pump and pumping water from a specific time while monitoring particular variables. Monitoring the pumping rate during the test is crucial as it allows for dependable drawdown data to be gathered.

During the test pumping, the borehole water level should be measured using a lighting dipper or electric sounding. Testing is not only done for water yield but water levels as well. The three most common yield tests for borehole water include constant test, step test and recovery test.

In order to determine the constant discharge of a borehole, water is pumped at a constant discharge rate for a period of time that is proportional to the expected yield. The constant testing time can be from 8 to 48 hours or longer. The data gathered during this process is analysed and used to determine, assess and recommend the water yield of the borehole. Moreover, the data is used to determine the pump size and depth of its placement.

What is the Importance of Water Chemical Analysis?

Water chemical analysis is usually done to determine the suitability of the borehole water for drinking, livestock, irrigation or any other use. This is an important part of ensuring that the newly drilled borehole is a safe and reliable source of water. Moreover, the chemical analysis allows for proper address of any specific problems of the water from the borehole. 

The chemical analysis of water also helps to ensure that the water source is properly protected from potential contamination and that appropriate treatment is chosen. Most importantly, water chemical analysis helps in making informed decisions about the water and how to utilize it.

What is Borehole Equipping?

Borehole equipping the process that  involves pump installation with its accessories such as control panel, submersible and underground cables, galvanized pipes and main to the tank.

What are the timelines for drilling a borehole in Kenya?

What are the timelines for drilling a borehole in Kenya?


Approximate No of Days

Hydrogeological survey and report writing

7 days

WRA/NEMA Permits

15-30 days

Actual Drilling

4-7 days

Equipping (Pump Installation)

1-2 days



What is the Cost of Drilling Boreholes in Kenya?   



  • Hydrogeological survey 

KSH 40,000

  • Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

  • NEMA Permit

  • Water Resource Authority (WRA) Permit



KSH 50,000

  • Drilling,

  • Casings

  • Test pumping


Ksh 5,500- 6, 500 per Meter 


How to miantain a Borehole?

A borehole system needs to be maintained correctly in order to work properly. To check for impurities, it is advised to test your water frequently—at least once a year. To prevent irreparable harm to the water supply and equipment, it is essential to engage skilled maintenance crews. It is crucial to shield the borehole region with a housing and keep it free of contamination from adjacent sources. Make sure the maintenance provider you choose has specialised tools, a good track record with customers, and liability insurance. Selecting the best experts for the project will assist extend the borehole system’s lifespan and preserve its effectiveness by comparing maintenance jobs and safety precautions. Read more on Tips: Essential Tips for Borehole Maintenance.

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