United Utilities announce new borehole scheme in West Cumbria

Going underground

A Borehole water scheme to help keep Ennerdale wet, wild and wonderful is nearing completion.

United Utilities has been working on a project to tap into naturally-occurring underground water sources in the area, to help supply local homes and ease the pressure on Ennerdale’s lake – currently the primary water source for homes and businesses in west Cumbria.

The project has seen engineers dig four 100 metre deep boreholes in close proximity, between Egremont and Thornhill. Water from underground aquifers will be pumped up from the boreholes, and then transported along a new 10 mile pipe to Ennerdale water treatment works.

Once at the treatment works, the borehole water will be treated and blended with water from Ennerdale, before being transported to local homes.


Nearly there…

Work on the scheme began in August 2014. The pipeline is now complete, and within the next month, United Utilities will be ready to trial the new borehole pumping equipment.

Along the way, United Utilities has had to negotiate some significant engineering challenges, such as tunnelling beneath the A595 trunk road to lay a section of the new pipe.

Paul Wheadon from United Utilities said: “The project has certainly had its technical challenges, but it has been worth it, as this is such an important project for the area. It will allow us to reduce the amount of water we take from Ennerdale, by making use of underground sources. Local people have been extremely patient and helpful during the project. We couldn’t have done it without them!”


Saying thanks

By way of thanks to the local community, United Utilities, supported by environmental charity Groundwork, will be creating a new community play area opposite the local primary school in Ennerdale.

Plans are shaping up well, and the scheme will include an all-weather, multi-use pitch. Work is due to commence this spring.


What’s next?

The new boreholes are by no means the end of the story for the future of west Cumbria’s water supplies.

United Utilities has applied for planning permission for a major new pipeline from Thirlmere reservoir to west Cumbria, to create a long term solution to the area’s water needs.

Ultimately, this will mean that United Utilities can stop taking water from Ennerdale entirely, preserving sensitive local wildlife habitats, as well as supporting the future economic growth of west Cumbria.

  • To find out more, please visit unitedutilities.com/cumbria