After 19 days of 24-hour operations, Seabees assigned to the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 74 Detail Horn of Africa's Water Well Team completed construction of their first well in the village of Jedane, Ethiopia, on Feb. 11.

The well will provide water to more than 3,400 locals who had previously been walking more than 2,000 yards to draw water from a 15-foot hole in the ground.

The team arrived in December, and began drilling Jan. 24, with the crew divided into three five-man tours – pronounced "towers" – and worked around-the-clock for 19 days. Chief construction mechanic Tim Taylor, the team's assistant officer-in-charge, says that to strike water, the team had to drill through dirt, clay and tough layers of granite to a depth of 302 feet.

Despite initial setbacks during the initial drilling process, Taylor modified two water pumps to work in unison, a spark of ingenuity that generated enough power to keep the tours drilling.

"The borehole was drilled once with a 9 7/8-inch bit, and then reamed with a 12 1/4-inch bit to 260 feet. During our second pass with the 12 1/4-inch bit, the mud pump gave way at 238 feet," says Taylor.

After tests for hydrogen and chloroform revealed that the water was suitable for human consumption, the team completed construction of the well, which also contained a water trough for livestock.

Abdi Qadir, Jedane's deputy tribal chairman, attended the well's opening gush.

"This is a good day for us. It's so wonderful to have clean water, and I am very happy for this well because my people are very thirsty," says Qadir.

Jedane leaders currently are considering drafting plans to install an electric water pump in the near future.