In our drought-afflicted land here in Cape Town, we need to be more vigilant about how we use our precious water. We are sure you have been plagued with a flood of tips and tricks to saving water (excuse the pun) so don’t worry, this is not another “Save Cape Town” or “How to save water” tutorial. This is about borehole drilling and what to be aware of.
We have been hearing quite a few scary stories around those very conscientious Capetonians who decided to invest in a borehole installation. With the view to using the water to feed their gardens and top up their pools, and even some redirecting the borehole water with filtration systems to cater to their toilet flushing and washing needs, some of these unsuspecting souls have been victims of trickery and in the end theft.
We decided to investigate the rumours and spoke to one of the leading borehole specialists in Cape Town, Nomad Drilling. Run by a team of experts, with a collective experience of over 35 years, we asked them a few pertinent questions following our poking around into the stories around unscrupulous borehole installers.
One of the reports we received was of a family that employed the services of one such company, to install the borehole in their backyard, with the view to sustaining their garden and pool. On the Monday the crew arrived with their machinery and promptly went to work drilling into the ground. 2 days later they announced they were done, the borehole installation process complete. A day later the homeowner received a bill for an exorbitant amount, way over what had been quoted initially. On questioning it, he was told that the fine print did state that if they had to drill deeper to get to water, they would keep going. They claimed that they had to go much deeper than normal hence the extra costs. He had no recourse.
Another gentleman reported that his borehole had seemingly collapsed and his garden was a mess of muddy water, his plant and tree life destroyed. When trying to get the borehole company to come back, they ignored his calls and to date, he still hasn’t been able to rectify the very unfortunate situation.
Steve Tripney of Nomad Drilling, who arrived in South Africa from Scotland back in 1982, has been working in the construction industry since 1987. Steve had this to say, “I have seen some shocking results following the use of inferior or sub-standard machinery and materials being used and it is sad that there are those out there bringing down the good name of the borehole and water reticulation industry.”
A BOREHOLE INSTALLATION CHECKLIST
His partner Roland Kugelmann, also a veteran in the construction industry, believes that anyone wanting to install a borehole should follow this checklist
- Research a few borehole installers before going with the first quotation and ask for references. Also, get proof of how long they have been around and specifically working in your area (the water knowledge of each area is important to ensure accurate drilling)
- Insist on a water survey and borehole yield test prior to the drilling – this will help you to see how far down the water is and eliminate unnecessary costs
- Ask for a list of the equipment they will use; i.e. piping (PVC is recommended) and dimensions – go for quality even though it may prove more expensive (remember, this is an investment and enhances property values)
- Ask for proof of insurance cover should they cause a land-subsidence issue or damage your neighbour’s property (i.e. third-party liability insurance)
- Ask for written proof if they have the authorisation to work within your estate (if an estate dweller)
- Insist that there be a qualified person managing the project, that he is on site at all times and that he or the owner signs the work off before the crew leave
- Get timelines on the duration of actual drilling, prep work, clean up and that they will make sure all is put back as it was before (residual mess removed safely
- Make sure they have a guarantee on their work, and that if something goes wrong afterwards as a result of their work, they will return to fix it up at no extra cost
While this is a pretty comprehensive list, the bottom line seems to be that you need to know your chosen borehole specialist backwards.
At the end of the day, they are performing a very precise procedure, literally digging up your land, with the hopes that water will be hit and that the end result is water that you can use or filtrate further. Nomad Drilling recommends that you rather go with a qualified referral from a happy homeowner. This way you can be assured of good, quality workmanship.
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