Never has access to water been more critical to certain sectors than now.

We all remember just how dry it was in 2018.

In 2021, the west of Scotland had 85% less rainfall than the average. Glasgow had its hottest summer since records began in 1884 and some parts of Scotland had their second driest summer in 160 years.

This summer is continuing in much the same vein.

SEPA produces a weekly water scarcity report during the summer months. This reports on water scarcity within each catchment area and reports on a scale of 1-5, as set out below.

  1. Normal Conditions
  2. Early Warning
  3. Alert
  4. Moderate Scarcity
  5. Significant Scarcity

As of 28th July 2022, most of the Eastern Scotland’s coastal catchments are categorised as having “Moderate Scarcity”. There is growing concern that Mid and North Fife will be categorised as having Significant Scarcity in the coming days.

Even in the West, parts of Ayrshire are at “Early Warning” stage, whilst Glasgow is at “Alert” stage.

Rainfall has been limited in the East over the last 6 months, especially since May when there has been significantly less than average.

It has also been noticeable how many clients have contacted us due to their once reliable spring in the hills now being much drier than it was. It can only follow that this will have an impact on river levels downstream.

How does this affect businesses?

The hotter temperatures and lack of rainfall in recent years have meant businesses need more water than they did in the past.

Coupled with climate change, there is an expectation that these weather patterns will become the norm during the summer months.

Thus, many businesses are now seeking to upgrade their water supply and storage systems. For example, a growing number of golf clubs have either recently upgraded their irrigation system, or are considering doing so.

Meanwhile, more farms are going down the path of installing new or additional rain gun systems.

These systems will need more water, and the golden question is, where will it come from?

What options do businesses have to increase their water supply?

The most obvious place to take water from is the public water mains system, however over an extended period this can be expensive.

Scottish Water are also asking households to take steps to reduce water usage, including spending less time in the shower and avoiding garden hoses. It therefore follows that those drawing large water volumes from the mains can have a positive impact by switching to an alternative water source.

Perhaps the second most obvious place to abstract water from is a surface watercourse. Many businesses have a burn or stream running through their property and have a license to abstract a limited amount of water from this source.

In many cases, however, these watercourses are consistently running at a lower water level during summer or are completely drying up in extreme cases. It’s therefore up to these businesses to consider the feasibility of relying on this source of water in the long-term.

Initial or supplementary water boreholes are therefore often considered a more reliable and cost-effective option.

What is a water well?

A water borehole or water well is constructed with specialist drilling machinery to drill into the bedrock beneath our feet.

This bedrock is often saturated in freshwater which can be pumped to the surface to be used for various purposes. This water can provide a clean, reliable supply at a relatively low cost over the course of its lifespan.

The exact volume and flow of groundwater depends on many factors but generally most places can access a groundwater supply.

Why are many businesses choosing a water well?

Whilst there is an initial cost to install a water borehole, this is seen as an investment in an asset which can provide a payback over the medium-term.

This is because abstracting water from a well is generally cheaper than other alternatives, such as paying for mains water based on how many cubic meters (m³) of water were used each month.

On top of this, SEPA is currently recommending steps that can be taken to tackle water scarcity, one of which is to switch to alternative supplies, such as water boreholes. Indeed, we’re aware of instances where those abstracting from a stream or pond have been encouraged to install a water borehole instead.

Many businesses are also working towards becoming self-sufficient, hence a supply from a water well helps work towards that objective.

As already mentioned, the bedrock beneath our feet is generally saturated in water and is usually suitable for use. Whilst groundwater levels do fluctuate during the seasons, these variations are generally much less drastic than with surface watercourses. As we all know, rivers can be overflowing in the winter and then be very dry during the summer.

As a result, a borehole is generally considered a more reliable source and an “insurance policy” for when conditions are particularly dry, helping to take away some of the stress for those who need water the most.

It’s for these reasons, coupled with the expectation that more challenging summers lie in wait, that many are quickly moving towards water boreholes.

How can Hydracrat help?

We are experienced borehole drilling contractors and have installed thousands of water wells since we were established in 1960.

Frequent clients include farms, golf clubs, distilleries, breweries, factories and homeowners.

If you’d like to speak with us about installing a water well, please do get in touch – we’ll be delighted to help.

Robert W

Hydracrat’s 3-Stage Process to Establish Water Wells has helped thousands of clients since our inception back in 1960.