Key decision over plans to drill two boreholes in Havant for water recycling scheme

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A key decision will be made this week over Southern Water’s plans to drill two boreholes at Bidbury Mead Recreation Ground in Havant.

The proposed boreholes would facilitate ground investigation works for Southern Water’s water recycling scheme and the associated underground water pipeline, the application to Havant Borough Council says. These investigations would provide information for the project, which aims to pump treated wastewater into the approved Havant Thicket Reservoir, supplementing the region’s drinking water supply.

The plans address a growing water shortage issue in the south east which has a projected water deficit of 2.7 billion litres by 2075. By installing monitoring equipment in the boreholes, Southern Water would be able to gather data on ground gas and groundwater to inform the design of the underground water transfer pipeline.

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Havant Thicket ReservoirHavant Thicket Reservoir
Havant Thicket Reservoir

The application says the two boreholes would be drilled in two locations; one would be between the car park and the edge of the football pitch, while the other would be in the north-east corner of the park. These boreholes would be drilled to depths of 30m and 60m, respectively, with a width of 20cm each.

The drilling phase for both locations is expected to last a maximum of eight weeks, including the subsequent decommissioning stage. Once the drilling is completed, the compound would be downsized to small palisade enclosures for the monitoring phase, estimated to take 12 months. Public engagement on the application has been carried out, with 24 comments received from members of the public.

One objection said: “This planning application from Southern Water is premature. Their proposal for water recycling has not been to the Secretary of State for approval.

“This drilling work will cause disturbance to this green area where residents from Bedhampton and Leigh Park go to enjoy their leisure.

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“There is no guarantee that the disturbed areas will be reinstated to the current standard.”

Council officers have recommended granting temporary permission for the project, subject to six planning conditions. Officers noted that arguments of prematurity are unlikely to justify refusal according to the national planning policy framework. The final decision on the plans will be made by the council’s planning committee on Thursday, July 20.