Anglian Water has begun work on a £1.2 million scheme to drill a new 61-metre deep borehole to supply residents in Bedfordshire.

The project will replace an existing borehole which has served the area for more than 70 years.

A specialised drilling rig will be used to drill a large diameter column before the borehole is fitted with a screen and filter pack which will allow the water to be pumped out – filtering out sand and sediment. Drilling is expected to be completed before the end of the year.

Anglian has invested an additional £6.5 million over the winter months to make sure its equipment is prepared for prolonged periods of heat, following one of the hottest summers on record last year.

This work has included cleaning existing boreholes and pumping equipment to ensure they can work at full capacity and make the most of the water resource available.

Hannah Stanley-Jones, head of water resources for Anglian Water, said that while Anglian’s reservoirs are in “good shape”, levels are lower than expected due to the lack of rainfall over the past year.

She added: “Around half of the water we put into supply comes from groundwater; the rest comes from our reservoirs and river intakes.

“The water that we treat to supply our customers comes from aquifers which can be deep underground. Boreholes are essentially large shafts which are driven into the ground, allowing us to abstract the groundwater by pumping it to the surface to be treated before making its way onto local homes and businesses.

“The site in the heart of Bedfordshire dates as far back as 1901 when a well was constructed to allow water abstraction from the Lower Greensand aquifer.”

Last week Anglian Water’s boss Peter Simpson hit back at at plans which could see a Labour government renationalise the water industry at a fraction of the sector’s market value.

He said the water sector is already tackling issues highlighted by Labour as part of its reason to target water companies. The sector would also not be a “priority” for investment over other key public services such as the NHS, he told Utility Week.