Boreholes reveal hidden signs of UK drought problem

This level of the borehole would normally be completely underwater
This level of the borehole would normally be completely underwater Photo: ITV News

When the water dries up we tend to think of half-empty reservoirs. But in East Sussex the problem is a little more hidden.

There are over 250 boreholes in the South East Water region - a huge number, and they supply 75% of the water in the area.

The borehole at Friston Treatment Works, near Eastbourne, is big enough to climb down (with a camera crew too). It's a hundred feet down and it takes about half an hour to get to water.

At the moment it takes just a little longer. The lack of rain means water levels are two and a half metres below what they should be.

Lewis Vaughan Jones went down the 100 ft tunnel down to the borehole.
Lewis Vaughan Jones went down the 100 ft tunnel down to the borehole. Credit: ITV News

The borehole collects water that percolates through the ground above. A two and a half-mile tunnel - dug by Welsh miners nearly a hundred years ago - brings the water to a well.

It is then pumped to the surface, treated and ends up in people's homes.

The current water level in these boreholes is among the lowest recorded
The current water level in the boreholes is among the lowest recorded Credit: ITV News