Anglian Water to begin work on £6.5 million pipeline to protect conservation area
Around £6.5 million (€7.5 million) will be invested in the project, which will take a year to complete. The new pipeline will enable Anglian Water to maintain water supplies to 3,000 homes in the region.
The local water supply currently comes from a nearby borehole; however, to help protect the surrounding environment of Catfield Fen, which is a renowned site of special scientific interest (SSSI) and part of the Norfolk Broads, the water company will stop taking water from the groundwater source following completion of the pipeline.
“Our region faces some unique challenges,” commented Hannah Stanley-Jones, head of water resources at Anglian Water. “It’s drier than any other part of the UK, receiving only two thirds of the average rainfall, but it’s also one of the fastest growing and home to over 100 environmentally important areas that are internationally recognised.
“Over the last year, we’ve seen less than average rainfall and depleted groundwater levels in the East, in some areas of Norfolk and Suffolk it has been the driest for 30 years. Our role as a water company is to manage our customers’ demand for water and the needs of the wider environment. Recently, we’ve been working with the Environment Agency to review our abstraction licences to ensure we continue to strike that fine balance.
“Between 2020-2025 we will reduce the amount we are legally allowed to take from the environment by 84 million litres a day. This pipeline project at Ludham is one of the first schemes to be implemented as part of this wider programme. The new pipeline means we won’t need to use our groundwater abstraction at Ludham, it will protect the environment in a much loved, unique part of our region and keep taps running for thousands of nearby homes for years to come.”
The Ludham project will be supported by improvement work to the tune of £34 million (€39.4 million) improvement works currently ongoing at Anglian Water’s water treatment works at Heigham in Norwich, which are due to be completed in 2020. These works will enable the transfer of water from Norwich to Ludham, via Horstead.
Stanley-Jones added: “This kind of work is indicative of types of challenges we can expect to face in a future with a changing climate and a growing population. It’s why we plan decades into the future, in order to keep taps running, whatever the weather.”