In recent years, turf professionals have become resigned to drought conditions during the summer months.
Most grassroots clubs rely on natural rainfall to water their pitches, mainly due to the fact they have no irrigation system or indeed not enough water pressure to operate self-traveling sprinklers.
During hot periods, turf surfaces can be driven into droughty conditions and overtime will suffer from stress and can become unplayable.
During my time in this industry, I have definitely witnessed a change in our weather patterns. When I was a practicing greenkeeper back in the 1970s we experienced distinct weather patterns during the seasons.
We would know that during the late autumn and winter months we would get plenty of rain and snow. I remember times where we had days and days of drizzly rain. Not the flash flooding rain we tend to get now.
So, back then we would have plenty of rainfall to keep the rivers and reservoirs topped up.
The shortage of rain water that is forecast in our summer months now will no doubt have an adverse impact on the way we manage and maintain our natural turf playing surfaces.
Today we are seeing more and more grass roots sports clubs suffering from these long periods of drought.
To effectively manage and maintain a natural turf playing facility to a reasonable standard there is clearly a need to have the ability to water the turf.
Unfortunately, many clubs do not have the use of automatic watering systems or often do not have enough water or the funds to pay for this precious resource.
Even if you do have a irrigation systems or the means to water your facilities, it is now coming at too high a cost for many clubs to afford.
In recent years however, we have seen a rise in the number of sports clubs that are prepared to invest in the installation of a water borehole.
One of the attractions of investing in these is that you can use up to 20,000 litres of water from a borehole in the UK without the need for a licence. If you plan to use more than this, then an ‘abstraction licence’ is required from the Environment Agency.
It pays to understand all the costs involved, beyond simply drilling a hole. You’ll need a geological survey, first of all, to determine the depth at which your water source is likely to lie. With this information, your recommended tradesperson can give you an indication of the cost for the creation of a safe-to-use borehole.
This will typically include: travel, equipment and set up for drilling the borehole.
The deeper your water supply, the greater the cost of accessing it and then creating a safe borehole for long-term use. Water bore drilling cost per metre will vary, but assuming your water lies at the average UK borehole depth of 60m, you can expect to pay between £10,220 – £16,000 for a professional to install your borehole.
This includes a hydrogeologist’s survey, the cost of drilling, a pump, chamber and pressure vessel.
The cost of drilling a water borehole on your property will rise depending on how far the water needs to travel from the source to where you need it. The further it needs to go, the more pipework and groundwork you’ll require, plus you’ll probably need a more powerful pump. Ultimately, the greatest cost is the drilling and creation of your borehole. For more information click here.
More and more clubs are now looking at investing in the provision of a borehole to extract the water they need for their facility - knowing only too well that the climate changes we are witnessing are only going to get worse.