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Need a private water supply from a borehole?

If you are purchasing a property in a rural area, there may not be a public water supply available and you may need to access a private water supply, usually from a borehole.

A borehole is a narrow, deep hole used to extract water from a water source running under the ground and specialist advice should be always be obtained about the best place to site one.

It is vital that the water is tested not only to ensure that there is a sufficient supply but also that is fit for human consumption which could involve the fitting of specialist equipment such as a UV treatment system.

If a mortgage is required then it is likely that this will be a requirement of the mortgage company.

Do I need an Abstraction Licence?

If you plan to take more than 20 cubic metres of water a day you will need an Abstraction Licence from the Environment Agency.

If the borehole only serves one property then an Abstraction Licence should not be required given the amount of water likely to be extracted. Even so, it’s important to take expert advice about the amount of water likely to be taken.

What about any septic tank?

If the property is not connected to the mains water supply, the chances are that it won’t be connected to mains drainage either.

If this is the case, action needs to be taken to ensure that the private drainage for the property does not contaminate the water supply to be taken from the borehole.

The borehole should be located at least 50 metres away from any septic tank or associated equipment and soakaway locations. If the property has the benefit of an exemption for the septic tank, this is likely to be one of the conditions of the exemption.

This is another reason that the water supply should be tested to ensure that there are no contamination issues.

What will my mortgage company need?

It is likely to require a letter confirming the water is fit for human consumption

It will also need to ensure that its security (the property concerned) is protected and as such, it is likely to require confirmation that the water has been tested and is fit for human consumption prior to it being willing to lend on the property. It may also have ongoing requirements for regular testing to be carried out.

Pipes or associated equipment running through adjoining land?

If any part of the equipment connected to the borehole runs through any adjoining land, you need to ensure that the necessary rights and easements are in place.

This is especially important as it is likely that any bore hole will have had to be sited more than 50 metres away from any septic tank and anyone coming on to the land to maintain, clean or replace any part of the system will need the right to enter any adjoining land to do so.

  • Read what Matthew Pitt has written about important changes to the law – with effect from 1 January 2020 – concerning some kinds of septic tank by clicking here.

If you need help with any conveyancing issue, please contact Wards Solicitors’ specialist Conveyancing team.

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