House purchase – Not on mains water

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  • House purchase – Not on mains water
  • Premier Icon sandwicheater

    Anyone know much about water aquifers/wells and probability they would dry up?

    Our friends are considering purchasing there first house and have concerns in respect the water supply.

    1750 cottage (group of 12) with all water fed from local well. They would pay something like £15 per annum to local land owner.

    Is pumped and automated but concerns are that the well may dry up leaving them with probable shared bill close to £40,000 to have mains water fitted.

    Appreciate it’s an unknown/no way of telling but would you not be concerned?


    My folks house used to be fed by a well but it would dry up on occasions during long dry periods.

    They had a bore hole drilled which is extremely unlikely to dry up (if it does the UK will probably be desert given it’s on the edge of the North Pennines.

    They should look at the option of a bore hole to reach water aquifers below the depth of the well.


    Given that the houses date from 1750 I’d say there’s a very good chance it will be fine (11 other people have already decided that).

    Even if the worst came to the worst, £40k divided by 12 isn’t a bad price at all.

    Edit: My concerns would be the quality of the water (obviously might be better than usual) and the payment to the landowner – if the well/borhole is on their land why are they paying him, and if it’s not, what’s to stop him charging £300 or more/year?


    My bro’s old house was the same. Water pressure was very poor, other than that no issues.


    Get them to contact the Ground Water team in their nearest E.A. office and have a little chat, they should be able to advise them of any historic dry ups.


    House I used to rent was on Well water, there are various tests and filters that you can get so the water is fine, well as long as there is no fracking in the neighbourhood….

    We moved out because the well went dry! It wasn’t very deep though, and neighbours with deeper boreholes didn’t have the same problem, so something to consider.


    Slightly irrelevant as we had water fron a local burn, then a loch, but we had no mains water for 15 years. I’d go back to it like a shot.
    The water company used to try and put the frighteners on us once in a while, pressure was a bit poor, and we got the odd tadpole through the tap but overall positive.


    “well as long as there is no fracking in the neighbourhood….”

    is that from your big daily mail book of made up facts ?

    we aint on mains water or sewerage – communual septic tank. how ever we all own the land the septic tank and the well are on ( septic tank is in the corner of a field about 500 m away from me and the well is about 1km up the hill from me)

    i didnt even know we werent on mains water until our water came out brown one day it had been torrential rain.


    is that from your big daily mail book of made up facts ?

    maybe I should have added a smiley!

    or maybe not!

    More seriously you do need to be aware of ground water contamination. It can happen, if your not on mains for water what about sewerage, where is grey water going, a tank or soak away? how are they geographically related? How is the bore hole maintained, who is responsible for inspections? Can contaminants get in? etc.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash

    A friend has been on spring/well water all her 40 odd years with no issues. I do have a property I deal with where the spring fed supply was stupidly high in copper (I think it was) which turned the taps and sinks green. Landlord had to put in expensive new filter system and passed the cost on to the tenants in a rent increase.


    Been on spring water for 15 years now. When we moved in we got the water tested by the Local Authority (free of charge, not sure if that is the case now) which indicated that it was illegal under the Geneva convention and would be a danger if terrorists ever got hold of it. Installed a particle filter and UV filter to make it safe.
    5 years later the spring dried up during a long drought (pretty rare in Wales) so we installed a bore hole at a cost of £14K. The spring has never dried up since but the bore hole has been well worth the money – no longer need to water the garden, veg plot and livestock by hand and plenty of high pressure water for vehicle washing etc.
    Plus the piece of mind knowing that we’ll never run dry as we can top up the spring tanks from the bore hole.
    Cost of the bore hole and annual maintenance has worked out much cheaper than getting connected to mains water.
    And spring water tastes so much nicer than mains.


    Have a chat with the local EA, but also worth a chat to:

    Centre for ecology and hydrology (terry marsh) – they hold what’s called the national river flow archive that has borehole records going back a long way. Also they know their stuff and can no doubt put you in touch with other people and can let you know about the characteristics of the area.

    The groundwater team at you local water company – most of those teams are pretty nice, helpful people even though you aren’t on mains. If you are in the Thames Water area let me know as I used to manage that team and I’m sure they’d give you any informal help.

    If there are already a load of cottages there the best thing though would be to talk to those already there. As above, I would imagine the well will be fairly reliable.

    But they should get the quality tested. If you are in a farming area you need to keep an eye out for nitrates and other nasties as they aren’t good for you – and especially bad for babies – so you need to get them out the supply.


    My mum’s house has a 300 foot deep borehole providing water from a local aquifer and it’s not dried up yet. However, it has required two, maybe three, lots of maintenance since they have lived there and, because of the depth, that was not cheap.

    Nice house, but it is quite isolated.

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