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What Is A Borehole Water Supply?

A borehole water supply is a system that extracts water from underground reservoirs known as aquifers, which are stored in rock sediment formations. This natural water supply can be used as the primary water supply for both businesses and households and is seen as an abundant and renewable water source.

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What Are The Benefits Of Having A Borehole Water Supply For My Business?

  1. Boreholes provide access to an independent and natural water source, reducing your reliance on a municipal water supplier.

  2. Using borehole water as the primary water source for your business premises can significantly reduce your business water bills.
  3. Implementing conservation methods (for borehole usage) can reduce unnecessary water consumption, further saving money on your utility bill.
  4. Borehole water usage is better for the environment, significantly reducing your business’s carbon footprint.
  5. During times of water scarcity, businesses with boreholes are better equipped to navigate through droughts and/or water restrictions.

How Much Water Can A Borehole Produce For My Business?

  • In the UK, the average individual uses roughly 150 litres of water per day.

  • A single borehole has an estimated daily capacity of producing up to 20,000 litres.
  • For quantities of 20,000 litres or less, there is no need for any permission or licenses.
  • If your business water usage exceeds 20,000 litres, you will need to apply for an abstraction license from the Environment Agency.

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A borehole is a narrow shaft that is “bored” into the ground to extract water – hence the name. These water supplies have accumulated in natural/porous rock and sediment deep beneath the surface and create “pockets” of water that are extracted.

Side note: Once water has been extracted from a borehole, it requires testing and treatment to ensure it is potable. Potable water is water that is safe to drink.

How deep should a borehole be?

The process involves drilling a hole or well vertically into the ground. The depth needed can vary significantly and may reach depths between 50 – 300 meters. Water is then extracted once the drill has reached the water table, through the use of a pump system.

What Are The Costs To Consider When Using A Borehole As Your Primary Source Of Water?

Do bear in mind that these costs are a guideline and can vary significantly due to geological factors.


As mentioned, these costs are influenced by the geological factors of the area and can range between £10,000 – £15,000 (including the cost of drilling, lining, pump, chamber and pressure vessel).

Hydrogeologist survey

A hydrogeologist survey is essential before receiving a drilling quote and the cost varies based on the site type and amount of water needed. Costs can range between £220 – £1,000.

Water quality testing

You must have the quality of your borehole water tested. This is to ensure that the extracted water is safe for human consumption. Water tests are usually in the range of about £275 per sample.

Abstraction license

If your business water usage exceeds 20,000 litres per day, you will need to apply for an abstraction license. This license costs roughly £135 per year and prices can vary depending on the amount you use.


Ongoing maintenance costs and repairs should be factored into your business budget.

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Is A Borehole Right For My Business?

Having a borehole installed at your business premises may or may not be the best option, especially for those with low business water consumption. However, some industries can greatly benefit from using boreholes as their main water source.

These industries include:

What can borehole water be used for?

The key advantage of borehole water is its sustainability.

Unlike surface water sources, like rivers and lakes, groundwater aquifers are naturally replenished through the hydrological cycle. The water that is extracted from a borehole is used in the same way as you would municipal water. For example:

  • Irrigation: Agriculture and landscaping sectors can benefit from boreholes; ensuring a consistent supply to maintain crops.
  • Water services: Connecting your borehole water supply to the mains of your home or business will ensure that water and wastewater services continue as normal.
  • Residential: Many households use borehole water for both potable and non-potable purposes. This can include maintaining gardens and swimming pools.
  • Commercial: Borehole water can be used by SMEs and larger businesses (i.e. shopping malls) for non-potable purposes, such as sewerage services, laundry and general cleaning.
  • Industrial: Many industries and large-scale businesses require/use a substantial amount of water for their manufacturing and cooling systems.
  • Potable water: In some cases, where borehole water has undergone extensive testing and treatment, it may be used as potable (drinking) water.

While boreholes can be a sustainable business water supply, it is crucial to extract water responsibly. Implementing conservation measures can prevent over-extraction from the water table and ensure the longevity of the natural supply.

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The Disadvantages Of Using A Borehole

Despite its benefits, a borehole may not be the ideal solution for your business.

Some drawbacks are:

  1. Initial cost: The upfront costs of having a borehole installed are very expensive and may not be a viable investment for some businesses.
  2. Limited water supply: Depending on the geological factors, the water yielded from a borehole may not be sufficient to meet some businesses’ water needs. This could result in sourcing alternative water services.
  3. Water quality: In rare cases, the quality of borehole water may not be unconsumable; limiting your overall water usage.
  4. Compliance: Businesses that use boreholes must adhere to local regulations and obtain the necessary permits. This can potentially make the situation more complicated and fines may be imposed if rules are not adhered to.
  5. Maintenance and upkeep costs: Like all equipment, boreholes also need regular maintenance and servicing. These additional fees may become costly if they are not properly budgeted for.

What Is The Difference Between A Borehole And A Well?

The terms “borehole” and “well” are often used interchangeably, but they do refer to different things:

  • A borehole: A borehole is a narrow hole/shaft that has been drilled into the ground to access water from underground aquifers. It involves the use of specialised equipment to penetrate the ground and reach the water table.
  • A well: A well on the other hand, is a broader term used to describe any excavation (hole) made into the ground to access water, including hand-digging.
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Compare Business Water Rates With Business Energy Comparison

To compare business water suppliers, you need to consider several factors such as the size of your business, water consumption, and your current business supplier utility rates. Business Energy Comparison can help you in comparing business water suppliers and potentially save money on your monthly bill.

If you want to switch business water suppliers, we recommend you speak to one of our business utility brokers, who will help you better understand the business water market.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I compare business water rates?

Comparing water suppliers, much like comparing gas and electricity rates, is a money-saving opportunity for your business. It allows you to effectively manage budgets, compare more suitable services and deals, and have access to better customer service – to name a few.

How do I switch business water suppliers?

Switching water suppliers for your business premises is usually a straightforward process.

First, you’ll need to know your average business water consumption, check your current water supplier contract (as there may be penalties incurred), compare business water rates from various providers on the water market, give notice to your current supplier, and finally set up a direct debit with the newly chosen business water supplier.

Who regulates water services in the UK?

Ofwat is a non-ministerial government department that serves as the economic regulator for water and sewerage services in England and Wales.