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Considering drilling a borehole this year?

These are the questions you must ask your driller

What happens in case of a dry hole?                                          

Many drillers only charge a dry hole 'at cost' , but do you know how much 'at cost' is?

To clients who need natural water sources.

This is the way it is when locating your water source:

If you use a driller only there will be no guarantee of success. The potential success of hitting water would be in the region of 65-70%.

Borehole in Whitchurch dowsed by Peter

Borehole in Whitchurch dowsed by Peter

If you combine the skill of a professional water dowser to assist the driller by locating the borehole site, you will increase your success rate to at least 90-95%. There is no way you can have a 100% success rate, there is always a risk. If you only use a driller to locate a source of water and it turns out to be dry, the cost would be anything from £1,500 to £1,700. If you are more unlucky and have a second borehole drilled and that fails also, that will cost you from £3,500 to £4,000 so you see it becomes an expensive project, whereas, you can increase your chances of success by using a professional dowser.

I cannot accept any responsibility if it is the drillers fault.  If I am not present when drilling takes place I am not responsible against any dry holes as I would not be aware of what has taken place.  Also if there are any marl clays, mudstones and bolder clays or any heavy clays that we may come across in drilling on the site I will still find the water but I will have to take into account the amount of clay that we have come across and add this to my depth count. In regard to a further site in the Whitchurch area I still managed to find water at a depth of 280 meters despite there being large volumes of clays on the site. Even with geological maps of the area and site these maps do not necessarily give the true structure of the area and the true depths of the clays on site in question.

Subject to seasonal changes claims against dry holes can only be made if the dowser is present when drilling takes place and it is proven that it is the dowsers fault.

No dowser /diviner should ever try and guarantee 100% a successful location because there are to many things that can happen which are out of the dowser/diviner's control. This is why I try and take photographs of the locations where I have made a site visit.

Up to date I have now completed 1,070 successful borehole and springs to date and now have 32 years experience.

What diameter of pipe will be used?

 Listen carefully to what your driller says to you... there are two pipes involved in the final installation - a metal pipe, and a plastic inner pipe which slides down inside it. This inner pipe needs to be at least 4" wide and must be surrounded by gravel. ( This is the way it should be done but not all drillers surround the pipe with gravel as the gravel acts as a filter before it enters the plastic pipe to go into the pump.) The metal pipe needs to be at least 6" wide to accommodate all this. Any less than this and the speed of your water flow will be sub-optimal.

Will you use screwed or welded metal pipes?

There are cost implications to you - but be aware your choice can make a big difference to how quickly your water becomes usable. Welded pipes whilst cheaper have caused contamination in some cases.

Peter Taylor dowsed this site in Shropshire and attended for the drilling

Will a dowser be used?

Incredibly, whilst some drillers do use dowsers, many don't. Instead they make use of geological maps of the area plus an onsite visit to ascertain (make an educated guess) where they might find water. (Many drillers charge a fee just for visiting your site to see if there might be a place where they could drill for water - so do remember to ask before you invite them over.)
A professional water dowser from the BSD register will make a preliminary remote dowse of your site. If water is found then he'll visit your site to mark the location. I will do my best to find clean water and also recommend that all boreholes drilled need to be tested with the appropriate authorities afterwards. The dowser will also in most cases be available to attend the drilling and oversee the job to ensure all goes smoothly.
The driller must slow down when the dust changes to bits as the drilling bits will be hot and the moisture from the water once comes in contact with the hot drill bit would change to clay and form a cone seal preventing the water from penetrating into the borehole.

Will the driller slow down as he approaches the water?

Do you know the signs that show that water is about to be hit. There are subtle changes to the nature of the waste being thrown out of the hole as the water is approached. Basically the waste changes from 'dust' to bits'. If the driller continues to drill at the same speed through this there is a 50% chance that the water course will become sealed off - permanently clogged with dust and clay. What the driller should do (but sometimes doesn't do) when the dust turns to bits, is to slow right down. This enables him to drill accurately into the water source and place an optimal sump beneath it to gather the water. Many drillers, eager to finish the job as quickly as possible, may be tempted to overlook the need for slowing down at this point. This may lead to big problems. The water may be missed altogether, or the water produced may be contaminated with minerals. In all cases the most sensible option is to drill slowly when the target depth recommended by the dowser is approached. Extra care at this stage is essential and can impact the effectiveness of the whole job. The dowser can not be held responsible if the recommendations of the dowser are ignored.

Disclaimer - When the dowser gives his report it is a snapshot of the underground water and shows the current situation. But this can not be relied on indefinitely, water tables change from year to year and from season to season.

Does your contract specify water?

It is not enough to have the word 'water' alone on the contract you must specify 'water', if you only use the word water in your drilling contract , and the driller hits undrinkable water (sour water) you will still be liable for the full fee. This can occur if the driller goes beyond the recommended depth advised by the dowser.  Some drillers will say that in their price they quote a depth of 400 feet which will be in the price even if you go 50 feet and hit the water which will make it 200 feet sufficient for that particular borehole.   If the water is hit at say 150 feet a sump of 50 feet will be adequate even if the driller says “you have still got 200 feet left or spare to create a sump”.   You must remember that the further 200 feet you are increasing the risk of contamination from the minerals within the ground. 

'No water No fee' is an often used expression in water drilling contracts - but this isn't always as fair as it sounds.

These are just a few of the pitfalls that you may hit when contracting to bore for water.  Sadly as a dowser I am often called to the site after unsuccessful boreholes have been drilled, which means I have personally witnessed the problems that can occur. As an independent advisor I can talk you through your contract, highlighting any areas where you need to ask more questions. Drilling a borehole is an expensive undertaking, you may decide it's worth spending a few pounds on an independent advisor such as myself to save yourself the expense and worry of possible problems.

The best thing is to use your instincts or ask a professional dowser for advice and for him to monitor the process of drilling when it takes place until they hit the water.  If I am not present when drilling takes place then I am not responsible for any problems which may occur. 


Would you like to speak to Peter? just call
01352 754052 for a free no-obligation discussion about your situation or email:

Another of Peter's jobs in South Wales

One question people ask me all the time is how much does drilling cost? 

Different drillers have different methods. Some drillers give you a quote by the meter other drillers give you a quote on just having the bore hole done and the pipe installed into the bore hole with stone which is half the job. Other drillers will give you a quote on the completion of the job which involves driving the bore hole, installing the plastic pipes with the filters and the pump and the steel casing and the electrical equipment. The prices will vary from driller to driller and what type of drilling takes place. For instance air drilling the price can range from £5,000 per bore hole to £10,000 per bole hole, but this depends on what part of the country you live in. If it's what is called "mud drilling" which is a system of using a water supply to reduce the force of the stones coming through the bore hole that is even more expensive. It can be anything from £10,000 to £18,000 per bore hole. Again this depends on what part of the country you live in, e.g. the southeast the drilling process can be up to £30,000 per borehole per site. This will depend on the depth that you are actually drilling. It also depends on the individual Companies. The best thing to do would be to get at least 3 quotes. This does not mean that the highest quote would be the best one to choose. The best thing is to use your instincts or ask a professional dowser for advice and for him to monitor the process of drilling when it takes place until they hit the water. If I am not present when drilling takes place then I am not responsible for any problems which may occur. All quotes and estimates, including pricing estimates and flow rates are subject to change.