Crane replacing pipework and borehole pump

crane replacing pipework and borehole pump

For some while now work has been taking place on the Butser Hill water supply. The whole site, an area of 750 acres, is supplied by a bore hole which is located in a field to the north of Butser Hill.

The bore hole contains a submersible pump suspended 40 metres below ground level, a depth at which the water can be heard running quite clearly from the surface. At the top there is a pump house with a filtration unit. This contains  three filters, two fibre and one metal,  a chlorination unit which releases a small measured dose of chlorine in a given volume of water, and finally a UV light source that sterilises the water as it passes.   

Treatment plant

Treatment plant

Despite these measures being in place the water system has had problems meeting minimum quality standards.   This is monitored by staff from East Hampshire District Council and the Environment Agency who carry out monthly tests at the bore hole and also at the public toilets on the top of Butser Hill.

The problems have been exacerbated by the very wet weather in April and June when there was a lot of surface water run off. All the private water supplies in the local area were failing their test at this time. Remedial work has included adding the three treatment processes outlined above, replacing the 40 metres of pipework from the pump to the surface, and cleaning out and chlorinating the tanks and pipes across the hill.

From the bore hole the water is pumped to a 30,000 litre WW2 vintage concrete tank located on the eastern slopes of the hill overlooking the A3.  Then there are two further 2,000 litre tanks which are located above Little Butser and by the Trig Point. These help distribute the water to the Butser Kiosk, the BT Tower and the events field/bbq sites at Cannonball/Coney Acres. In addition there are water troughs across the site.

At present we have 65 head of beef cattle grazing on the northern slopes of the hill. An adult animal will drink about 40 litres of water each day, a total of 2,600 daily for the herd. In addition there are 400 head of ewes and lambs which will bring the total up to about 4,000 litres, or 4 tonnes of water. Although the quality is not such an issue with livestock, if the supply fails then there are real problems.

There have been two unwelcome consequences of the recent water problems, firstly and most importantly our visitors are having to cope with a portaloo at the Butser toilets, together with a reduced service from the kiosk. And secondly, the Park’s rangers are having to take water to the livestock each day by water bowser. This takes up most of the morning.

Plans are now being put in place to connect the hill up to mains water and to do away with the bore hole altogether. This is likely to take some while to resolve and so the current measures will remain in place for the foreseeable future. The main visitor centre and all the Park’s facilities to the east of the A3 are already on the mains supply.