West Cumbria looks set to continue to get its water from boreholes after United Utilities applied to continue its licence.

The utility company secured a licence to draw water from boreholes in Egremont to support its water supply network in 2015.

The current licence, which allows the firm to take up to 11 mega litres of water a day from the boreholes, expires in March.

After that, the amount it would take would drop to eight mega litres a day.

But United Utilities has applied for a continuation of the environmental licence.

It wants permission to continue to take 11 mega litres of water from boreholes in the future, if needed.

The move, the Environment Agency said, would "help maintain a resilient water supply to West Cumbria and protect the sensitive natural environment".

Sharon Kennedy, the agency’s environment manager for Cumbria, said: “The Environment Agency licenses the amount of water United Utilities can abstract from Egremont boreholes to boost their water supply network.

“United Utilities has applied to the Environment Agency to continue its licence and we are currently reviewing the information and have advertised the potential changes so people have the chance to have their say, before a decision is made.”

The boreholes are being used to help supply local homes and businesses with water while United Utilities constructs West Cumbria's new pipeline from Thirlmere.

The utility company is responsible for the quality of drinking water, which is regulated by the Drinking Water Inspectorate.

Martin Padley, water services director at United Utilities, said: “This does not change the way we are managing water supplies in West Cumbria. It allows us to continue the agreement we reached following consultation with the Environment Agency and other stakeholders in 2017.

“We are committed to maintaining a blend of 20 per cent borehole water and 80 per cent Ennerdale water when levels in the lake are high enough.

“However, last year’s hot dry summer showed how variable the availability of water resources can be, and the importance of a resilient water supply. This continuation of our temporary licence will give us access to sufficient water should there be any repeat of these extreme weather conditions.

“Longer term, after 2022 when our new West Cumbria water supply scheme is completed, we will supply the area with water from Thirlmere reservoir.”

United Utilities' licence variation can be viewed at www.gov.uk/government/organisations/environment-agency for 28 days.

Copies of the documents can also be viewed at the agency's offices in Penrith.

People can comment on the request.

The Environment Agency has until April 11 to review all comments received and then publish a decision.

West Cumbria current gets all its water from local lakes and boreholes.