A planning application for a long-awaited new reservoir in Hampshire to secure reliable water supplies for the future has been submitted by Portsmouth Water.
The UK company wants to build Havant Thicket Reservoir in Havant, in collaboration with Southern Water, to safeguard water resources for the South East.
The new resource would protect precious local chalk streams by reducing abstraction and create a new green leisure hub to benefit both people and wildlife.
The detailed planning application for the reservoir, along with a separate one for the pipeline which is needed to fill it and take water out to supply customers, has now gone in to Havant Borough Council and East Hampshire District Council.
Bob Taylor, chief executive officer at Portsmouth Water, said: “We’re delighted and extremely proud to have submitted applications for this major project, which has been talked about since the 1960s. We’re determined it will provide many benefits for our communities, the environment and wildlife. Crucially, it will mean there’s enough water to go round in our water-stressed region in the decades ahead, at the same time as safeguarding world-famous chalk streams in our area – the River Test and the River Itchen.
“Havant Thicket Reservoir will also be hugely positive for wildlife, with a new, large wetland created on the reservoir’s northern edge, providing a haven for endangered birds and other protected species. Plus, through this scheme, we’re committed to replanting and improving at least 110 hectares of native woodland and grassland, next to the reservoir and further afield.”
Following a successful consultation on its reservoir proposals in May and June, Portsmouth Water has updated its final plans, based on the feedback it received.
The new reservoir will play a key role in freeing up supplies to share with Southern Water’s customers in west Hampshire.
Ian McAulay, Southern Water CEO, added: “Working together on this new strategic water resource for the South East epitomises our continued partnership with Portsmouth Water and our shared focus on delivering the best value for customers and the environment.”
If the reservoir is given the go-ahead, the next steps would be further environmental work to support wildlife migration and completion of the new access roads by 2022.
Between 2023 and 2026, work would take place to dig out the clay on site and move it to shape the reservoir bowl, as well as build the reservoir embankment and lay the pipeline which will transfer water from Bedhampton Springs to the reservoir.
Finally, from 2027, the 5km-long network of paths around the site would be put in, the visitor centre and other facilities built and the reservoir filled with water. Havant Thicket Reservoir would open fully to the public in 2029.
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