Anglian Water is pushing ahead with its reservoir plan in South Lincolnshire to secure future supply

Anglian Water bosses say they are pushing ahead with plans for a new reservoir in our area to ‘secure the water supply for future generations’.

After the driest period since 1976 – with a drought declared here – the company says it is almost ready to ask the public about its plans for the future and warns that inaction could soon leave us with a water deficit of millions liters per day.

South Lincolnshire has been mooted as a possible location for a reservoir – previously described as something the size of Grafham Water which would be linked to a new wetland bog planned by the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust at Bourne.

Grafham Water in Huntingdonshire

The location of this reservoir – and another for the ‘Fens’ which is a joint project with Cambridge Water – has yet to be revealed, but details are expected in the fall and the public is expected to have their say. say.

Plans for the project have been drawn up over the past 10 years – with the company saying the summer heatwave “clearly illustrates the need to invest in more water storage”.

They say the demand for water resources is felt more keenly here than in any other part of the UK – given that it is the driest part of the country.

The two new reservoirs could provide enough water for at least 750,000 homes, while protecting the environment by allowing Anglian Water, which also runs Rutland Water, to reduce the amount of water taken from rivers and underground aquifers elsewhere in the region.

Alex Plant, Strategy and Regulatory Director for Anglian Water, said: “It’s easy to see when you look out the window right now just how precious water is. It is the cornerstone of the region for our customers, our businesses, agriculture and nature. The current situation presents an obvious backdrop as to why projects like this are needed, but the reality is that we know the future promises far more people, but far fewer raindrops, we are working on these projects for years, as we know how long they take to materialize.

“Getting these projects started means that the chances of our taps running dry are greatly reduced, while helping us take a big step forward in protecting the environment by reducing what we take elsewhere in the region. . And these are just two of 18 strategic water resources projects being developed across the UK in conjunction with our regulators – Ofwat, the Environment Agency and the Drinking Water Inspectorate by through the RAPID structure that regulators have put in place to support the implementation of these critical programs.

“The reality is harsh for the East of England. We operate in the driest part of the country and receive a third less rainfall than anywhere else in the UK, but we are also one of the fastest growing regions, with 175,000 new homes to be built over the course of of the next five years. If we do not act, we will face a water deficit of millions of liters per day over the next five years, let alone 25 years.

“Right now, we are already working on strategic new pipelines to move water from the wetter parts to the drier parts of our region, installing more than one million smart meters in customers’ homes for help to better understand their water use and reduce leakage around the world Key low levels – last year alone, delivering five years of reduced leakage in a single year These reservoirs will build on these measurements of demand reduction and will play a vital role in securing long-term water supplies.

“But we need to be clear – while all of these projects will help keep the taps running, they are necessary because the demand for water will far exceed the available supply unless we act now, which is why we all need to still do our little to use less.

Anglian Water says its new reservoir could also create wider opportunities for the area – along with other leisure activities such as sailing, cycling and fishing. Visitor centers support educational programs, while wildlife areas are managed as nature reserves.

An inflatable water park at Grafham Water
An inflatable water park at Grafham Water

Hannah Stanley-Jones, head of future resources strategy for Anglian Water, said: “These new reservoirs will provide drinking water, but they offer much wider opportunities. We plan to provide new places to visit and enjoy, economic investments for communities, and homes for wildlife. We have seen what a positive contribution our existing water parks can make to the people who live and work nearby. We want to create the same with these new tanks.

“We are at a very early stage in the planning process and have carried out detailed technical work to help identify the best locations for the proposed reservoirs. We plan to share where we are with this work in the fall when we launch the first phase of consultation on our proposals.

“This will include the proposed locations and our assessment of what we will need to do to deliver them responsibly while minimizing any impact on the environment and local communities. This will give local people an opportunity to give us feedback before we develop our plans further. We anticipate that this will be the first of three consultation phases.

“Ahead of the start of the first phase of consultation, to help people understand why the tanks are needed and what they will bring, we have updated our website with more information about these projects that we are developing in partnership. with Cambridge Water and Affinity Water.

“While we have recognized the need for these projects and have been planning for them for a number of years already, they are still at an early stage as it is a long and detailed planning process. The designs will be developed over a number of years with opportunities for communities to have a say in and shape the design of the reservoirs. Construction of the new reservoirs could begin by 2030 with the expectation that they will start delivering water to customer taps by the mid to late 2030s.”

Daniel Johns, Managing Director of Water Resources East and Chairman of the South Lincs Water Partnership and the Fens Water Partnership, said: “The Fens and Lincolnshire Reservoirs are critical to the future prosperity and environmental health of the region as climate change reduces existing water resources. reliable. The east of England needs to make the most of the rain that falls in our river basins, the driest part of the country. This means that there is an urgent need to store a lot more water.

“What is particularly exciting about these two reservoir projects is the huge potential they both hold to deliver much wider benefits to agriculture, local communities and the regional economy. . And there is a real appetite and real ambition among local partners to make it happen. Water Resources East is proud to play its part in supporting this process, and I am excited to see the opportunities these two projects bring begin to materialize.

Darren Smith, Head of Water Partnership in South Lincolnshire, said: “It is more important than ever that we work together to secure water for people and the environment. Over the past few months, the South Lincolnshire Water Partnership (SLWP) has played a significant role in influencing the ongoing development of Anglian Water’s Lincolnshire Reservoir option. I encourage people to learn more about the proposals and play their part in shaping the outcome.

Anglian Water says it will soon be contacting all landowners and residents who may be affected by these proposals. A ten-week public consultation will follow for people to review the proposals and provide feedback.

More information about the new reservoirs will be available at:, including how to contact Anglian Water about proposals.

Anglian Water says it will seek comments on all aspects of the proposed reservoirs during a multi-phase consultation, including the proposed areas in which the reservoirs could be located, the infrastructure connected to them, the impacts to short term and temporary construction process and all environmental issues.

He says there will be multiple opportunities over the next few years for people to give feedback as the proposals continue to take shape. More information on the fall consultation and how to participate will follow later in the year.

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