UK Plans New Reservoirs

Oct. 29, 2003
New Houses Being Built in the Southeast Mean Water Demand Is Rising

Seven new reservoirs could be built across the southeastern United Kingdom to cope with the rise in demand for water.

A joint investigation by BBC's Countryfile programme and the Independent on Sunday discovered that water companies are planning to flood thousands of acres of farmland.

Among the places earmarked for new reservoirs are Canterbury in Kent and Abingdon in Oxfordshire where plans which had been discarded years ago have now been revived.

Thames Water first presented plans for a reservoir in Abingdon in 1990 but they were withdrawn after being told they had to deal with leakage from water mains first. Now the water company has revived the scheme and has included the proposal in its business plan.

Water companies say new reservoirs are needed because of all the new homes being built and the increased amount of water being used with dishwashers and power showers.

Dr. Peter Spillet, Thames Water, said: "When you look ahead 20 to 25 years we can see a big gap developing between supply and demand and we have used the more conventional more economical, least cost approaches we can think of....A large, regulating reservoir up stream would be a good solution."

The seven reservoirs would only be built if permission was granted from the government and the Environment Agency.

"The point we are making in being pretty resistant to reservoirs is that most companies that put forward proposals for reservoirs are not thinking about how they can reduce customers' demand and manage their leakage effectively as a first step, " said Baroness Young, Environment Agency chief executive. She also said if there was a dry winter there may be restrictions on water usage in the spring and summer next year.

Source: BBC News

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