Boreholes promoted as drought defence tool

A Shropshire water expert has urged growers in the Midlands to consider boreholes as worries over future drought in the region persist.

Hydro-geologist Jonathan Wyatt said scorching weather could become a pattern. "From January to August the Midlands has averaged rainfall levels of 44.2mm, just over half the UK average. Spring was the driest for around 50 years."

The managing director of Wyatt Bros maintained that while a new well took about six months to commission because of lengthy licensing and testing, boreholes for up to 20cu m of water a day did not require an abstraction licence from the Environment Agency.

"This private source could save farmers up to £7,200 a year in water-company fees, depending on hydro-geology," he added.

However, consultant John Adlam, who has advised on many borehole jobs, warned: "Private water sources take out problems of drought orders, hosepipe bans and mains leakage. But 20cu m a day is pretty small, amounting to 7,300cu m a year."

He added: "Being unlicensed, the water is not protected, so a neighbouring grower or council can tap into the same source and you have no legal redress. This could leave you vulnerable."

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