Don't get caught out by abstraction thresholds

Posted: Tuesday 12th July 2016

For small water abstractors, where the amount abstracted is less than 20m3 per day (in England and Wales), an abstraction licence is not required, but beware; if you exceed this amount the consequences could be severe.

A hotel in the London region was abstracting from the chalk aquifer via a borehole. When the borehole was drilled, the plan was to keep abstraction below the threshold and so there was no need to licence the abstraction at that time. However, following a routine inspection by the local council Environmental Health team, concerns were noted about the volume of water being used and the hotel was referred to the Environment Agency. It was found that the hotel was over abstracting and the Environment Agency required the hotel to cease abstraction until the borehole licence application had been submitted and approved. Before the licence application could be submitted a Water Features Survey and a Test Pumping Programme has to be undertaken to determine potential impacts of the abstraction at the required rate. This process took a number of months during which the hotel were forced to revert to mains water at a significantly increased cost.

This situation could have been avoided had they carried out regular monitoring of their abstraction. Even if they been abstracting close to the threshold they could have made the necessary applications for a licence whilst continuing to abstract up to 20m3 per day and therefore make significant savings against the cost of mains water.

This scenario shows the importance of a robust reporting and monitoring system to ensure companies are able realise the benefits from the investment in a private water supply.

Pendleton Hydro ( ) is a small company specialising in groundwater abstraction and are experienced at working with clients to secure abstraction licences. If you are unsure whether your abstraction is properly licensed Pendleton Hydro can help.

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