Suffolk: Business booms for borehole firms as demand for do-it-yourself water supplies soar

PUBLISHED: 06:00 17 April 2012

Business booms for borehole firms as demand for do-it-yourself water supplies soars

Business booms for borehole firms as demand for do-it-yourself water supplies soars

SUFFOLK’S thirst for do-it-yourself water supplies has soared since parts of the county were hit with a hosepipe ban, it’s been claimed.

Specialist drilling firms say they have seen a dramatic leap in business for boreholes as farmers and homeowners scratch around to secure a reliable source.

Boreholes - which see underground water pumped to the surface - can secure up to 20,000 litres (4,000 gallons) of free water a day without the need for a licence.

Their surge in popularity comes as official drought zones were declared in 17 further English counties amid warnings water shortages could last until Christmas.

Suffolk-based borehole drilling firms said a large proportion of their business was from householders with large gardens, rural homes and farmers.

Simon Allen, owner of Cruwman Limited, based in Glemsford near Sudbury, said he had seen a dramatic increase in business.

“It’s soared really, there’s been a lot of new interest,” he said. “Especially people with irrigation systems and large gardens - they have really sounded desperate with the pressure of a housepipe ban.

“The geology is the main limiting factor, if you have to drill very deep the costs can make it difficult for some people but some people regard it as a worthwhile investment.

“If you invest time and money in your garden you don’t want to see it die and once you have made the investment the water is free.”

Tony Brown, of Haverhill-based A G Brown Drilling, said: “It’s a busy time anyway but we have had double the amount of enquiries to normal.

“As soon as the drought is mentioned it focuses people’s minds. People don’t want to see their gardens wither.

“Everytime Anglian Water puts their prices up we seem to get more work and we do a lot of work for pig farmers.”

Judy Terry, Suffolk County Council’s (SCC) portfolio holder for the greenest county, said: “I would not want to describe it as selfish but they [potential borehole customers] need to ensure they are not taking water from a legitimate supply that’s supplying a wider area.”

Andrew Stringer, leader of the Green Party on SCC, said: “We need to be wary of whether water aquifers or underground water is drying up. It maybe that some of the people buying these boreholes might be better off investing in water-saving technology.”

A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency said: “Obviously it’s still taking water out of the system and in the current climate we’re asking people to think about their water use.”

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