Would a borehole reduce your club’s irrigation bills?

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 30, 2011 14:00

Would a borehole reduce your club’s irrigation bills?

Groundwater (water contained naturally in underground aquifers) is used to supply much of the public in the UK. The percentage of groundwater versus surface reservoir supply varies in different regions, but, for example, in East Anglia and the south east of England, the majority of water is from underground aquifers. In England and Wales approximately 30 per cent of public water supply is from boreholes tapped into aquifers. This figure reduces to seven per cent in Northern Ireland and three per cent in Scotland. Provided that correct procedures are followed and geological conditions permit, a business or individual can tap into the underground aquifer making use of water available within their own premises.

Aquifer Formations

Chalk, jurassic limestone, permian and triassic (new red) sandstones, carboniferous limestone and devonian (old red) sandstone form the main aquifers with some minor other formations.

Wherever these formations occur there is potential for a borehole to be drilled and constructed to bring water direct to your facility. If your property is situated in an appropriate geological area you can operate your own borehole water system, provided that legal requirements and correct procedures have been met. The procedure for obtaining a borehole water supply is:

1. Investigation. PR Marriott Drilling, for example, uses a combination of professional services in giving advice on the potential for a borehole. The services range from in-house expertise (qualified drilling and geological knowledge), contact with the British Geological Survey (BGS) and working with the local Environment Agency (EA) to determine feasibility. A prognosis is provided giving relevant details prior to submitting a design and estimate of costs.

2. Licensing. Generally a ‘consent to drill’ application process is required for drilling a borehole, which is later followed by the formal issue of an abstraction license. This will determine the quantity abstracted provided that the application is approved. The licensing process is governed by the area EA.

There are exemptions to the licensing requirements. In England the EA does not usually require a license if less than 20 cubic metres per day is to be abstracted. In Scotland this figure is less than 10 cubic metres (controlled by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency).

Drilling Stage

Once the water resources legislation is met and the design and costs are agreed then drilling can proceed. Each region will have varying geology and different formation thicknesses. The borehole construction proceeds as follows:

• EA consents to drill (as applicable). Notification of the project is made to the BGS.

• The well is designed to water industry and British standards.

• Sealing of surface (upper) casing is made to industry standards so that the borehole aquifer is safeguarded against potential contamination.

• An appropriate drilling technique will be carefully selected to suit the formation to be drilled.

• The target aquifer formation will be drilled to a sufficient diameter to accept a submersible pump and rising main pipes.

• Certain formations will require the installation of a filter screen, surrounded by a carefully-selected filter pack.

• The headwork arrangement will be contained within a chamber with a manhole cover or within a small pump house to suit the client.

• Development and test pumping will be carried out to ascertain the aquifer yield and expected water pumping level.

• The pumped water will be analysed for chemical and bacteriological content as required.

• In some instances treatment may be needed. Expected water quality will have been anticipated in the initial prognosis.

• A final construction and pump test report will be distributed.

Once the abstraction license process is completed and approved, a permanent electric submersible pump, piping and control panel will be installed with a discharge connection to the end user supply system. There are considerable savings in investing in a borehole and the return will be noticed all year round both on the course and in the pocket.

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 30, 2011 14:00
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