Drilling for Money

Here are two screenshots on the subject of drilling for water (click the link to read the story)

FireShot Capture - DIO delivers drinkable water for Sennyb_ - https___www.gov.uk_government_news_d


7 boreholes, £1m
FireShot Capture - 521 STRE - Water Development - Think De_ - http___www.thinkdefence.co.uk_2015_0

The work was carried out by Kelda Water Services


Royal Engineers core competence?

Am struggling, someone help me out.


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July 8, 2015 8:29 am

I’ve no idea but I enjoyed the “core” competence pun. That one was worthy of Basil Brush, Sir!

July 8, 2015 12:11 pm

According to Reuters News and The Wall Street Journal. An outfit called Sperry Sun Drilling Services, owned and operated by Halliburton. It appears that Water is BIG Business, Second only too Oil…

Deja Vu
Deja Vu
July 8, 2015 12:51 pm

Regarding RE construction. The project being too big for “training” and if undertaken by RE, there is the risk of the units being considered superfluous and ripe for disbandment as they are not being used in a combat role.

The well drillers of 521 STRE did drill many boreholes on Crown land (RAF Stations etc.) after water privatisation as the Crown has the right to extract artesian water without paying for it. They are generally pretty busy and save the tax payer a fair amount.

PS As a past OC of 506 STRE (Works) (V) you should know that based on what we were required to do at annual camp the core competency of an STRE (Works)(V) was the construction of brick barbecue pits. I would ration them to one per camp at most :-) but one of my fellow OC’s had his team build seven during his fortnight in the sun. Note that my bricklayer was a Building Control Officer climbing the ranks until I could get him to Clerk of Works.

July 8, 2015 12:56 pm

I am flabbergasted at the MoD and once again demonstrating their core in- competence. I bet your bottom dollar that whomever processed this, it will of passed through many hands and across many desks during the request process,tendering and final sign off , had no idea the British Army ACTUALLY had their own team of well drillers. Why would we , if you run out of water you just get Amazon to deliver some more Evian , doesn’t one? Still and sparkling ;-)

Slightly Agricultural
Slightly Agricultural
July 9, 2015 9:39 am

@Monkey – It will have been DIO (formally Defence Estates). Whilst I have no particular love for them, trust me that the vast majority of Civil Servants are not in the financial position to be drinking Evian regularly (sparkling or otherwise). A project of this size could easily be kicked about and approved between 3 or 4 people (PM, Finance, Commercial & Team Lead). Admittedly, none of whom may have known about 521; DIO can be a bit useless sometimes.

From the article;

Six new boreholes were drilled and one existing borehole was redrilled. A new water treatment works was installed at each of the 7 locations, including new chlorination units, UV disinfection and filtration systems:

Kelda also did a Feasibility Study and there may be a support element for all the purification kit they put in. That’s a lot more than just drilling holes.

It may seem like a common sense fail, but the Army is pretty busy and I can’t see a unit having the time for a major works programme like this. The ‘system’ is also not really set up for doing things with service personnel rather than just paying a contractor. Plus you have the H&S issue of needing to certify that all this water is fit to drink. I don’t know 521’s qualifications on that front (home is a different legal matter than Ops), but MOD loves to pass the risk onto the hired help.

Reading between the lines, someone got around to having the existing boreholes checked a few years ago, realised they were dodgy and shit a brick at the potential repercussions…

July 11, 2015 7:36 am

521 STRE being part of 170 Infra Sp Engr Gp have the qualifications to over see such a project especially considering the knowledge that can be drawn from the reserve element of the unit/s. I don’t think there is a problem with hiring civilian contractors to do such projects, I think the problem is whether the mind set is to automatically look to the civilian sector for such projects and ignoring our in house capabilities. Whether 170 was asked is a question I suppose we will never know.

Things might be changing with Project ANEMOI.
‘single storey steel portal-framed buildings will replace accommodation that was built by the Corps in 1982. An invitation to tender was issued by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation for a replacement. The Corps bid in the hope that it could demonstrate that it was capable of delivering large scale infrastructure projects.’

I wonder if the Corps will be involved with the infrastructure that may be required for the MPA’s that pretty much every one seems to agree are coming, considering that 39 (Air Spt) Engr Regt role is to provide engineer support to both the RAF and land component of the armed forces especially when it is construction centric in both role and equipment.