Thames Water sinks groundwater borehole at Buckingham Palace

Borehole drilling has begun at Buckingham Palace as part of Thames Water's scheme to stop rising groundwater from flooding Underground lines and damaging the foundations of tall buildings.

Groundwater levels have been rising beneath London since the 1960s, following a decline in the industrial use of water. Thames Water’s John Sexton said: “With the help of the Palace and other organisations this problem can and will be solved.”

Thames has now drilled four boreholes in London, at Battersea, Brixton, Islington and the Millennium Dome. About 70 million litres a day will need to be abstracted by 2004 and there are plans for up to 50 boreholes across the capital.

At the Buckingham Palace borehole, 2.5 million litres a day will be pumped out and used to supply a large air conditioning system in the Queen’s Gallery. Any remaining water will be used to fill the Palace’s lakes and water its gardens.

Although the untreated water is of inadequate quality for potable supplies, Thames hopes to treat a large proportion of the water.

Rising groundwater already makes a significant contribution to public water supplies in the Merton, Streatham, Honor Oak and Wanstead areas of London.

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