The People and Machines Behind Water Well Drilling Missions in Central America
It’s hard to imagine what life would be like without access to readily available water. But brothers Mike and Kirk Douglas from Colorado know that’s a harsh reality for thousands of people worldwide. When the brothers think of water, a whirlwind of drilling missions come to mind, both those already accomplished and many more left to do.
“The need of the people is enormous, and pure water changes their lives,” Mike said. “The women and young girls carry water for miles, and often the water they are carrying isn’t pure. When they cook with it their families get sick. In one village, 300 children died because of a waterborne disease. This is a preventable thing.”
Together, the brothers are on an ongoing mission of both prevention and empowerment for villagers in developing countries in Central America. For the past 16 years, they’ve combined their dedication to serving others with donor support and the right equipment to make a real difference in people’s lives.
“Because the countries are very diverse, we work everywhere from the ocean plains to the mountains,” Mike said. “We drill in all kinds of conditions, from sand and clay to some of the hardest volcanic rock formations you’ll ever find, particularly in Guatemala.”
The trailer-mounted LS300T+ rotary drill offered the brothers the ideal performance and transportability to get through harsh drilling conditions. It featured Lone Star’s most powerful hydraulics for drilling 6-inch boreholes to depths of 300 feet in everything from sand to hard rock formations. The hydraulic rig included an anchor kit that helps them push beyond the weight of the trailer the drill is mounted on, using roller cone bits to power through the rock they often encounter.
With those capabilities, they efficiently get past the first aquifer to reach the second and sometimes third, where water is cleaner.
“The thing that is unsaid about Little Beaver (Lone Star Drills’ parent company) is its commitment to service,” Mike said.
Although the brothers have enough experience with the machines to maintain them on their own, Mike knows that Little Beaver is always available for consultation on how to fix things and to provide parts when needed.
“We had a rig break down on us, and my brother was already in Central America. It was a part that we could not get down there, so we contacted Little Beaver. They drove to the Houston airport and met me in the concourse with two packages, which allowed me to carry the parts onto the plane and get them back down to the drilling site so we could get up and running again.”
Mike said the two-hour, one-way trek that Little Beaver made to help them out was “an amazing thing” that he will never forget.
Mike and Kirk use knowledge gained from past missions and training as they travel three to five times a year to drill wells, typically with eight to 12 volunteers.
“This is something that can be solved,” Mike said. “What keeps me doing it is my love for people and my desire to improve their lives. I’m going to keep going down there until my hands don’t work anymore.”