Thames Water will invest more than £55 million (€60 million) over the next five years to upgrade Guildford’s water supply and ensure it can meet increased demand from thousands of new homes.
The announcement comes during the ongoing upgrade of Netley Mill water treatment works which supplies 8,500 properties in Cranleigh and the surrounding villages via Hurtwood, Alderbrook and Lambswood reservoirs. The work will increase the resilience of the site and reduced the risk of supply interruptions.
More than 8,000 new homes are planned for the Guildford area in the next five years. This will put added pressure on demand for water at a time when climate change is impacting its availability from the natural environment.
Gareth Parry, head of water production at Thames Water, said: “Water is life’s essential service so making sure our customers have access to a reliable and safe supply is a top priority for us. It’s vital we keep investing in our network, particularly in and around Guildford where we heavily rely on a relatively small number of treatment sites and reservoirs to meet the needs of tens of thousands of homes.
“Space for new reservoirs is almost impossible to come by so we have to ensure those sites we do have are upgraded regularly to meet the increasing demand for water as the population grows.”
Guildford’s water supply network is currently made up of 1,343km of pipes – the length of more than 12,500 football pitches – and plans are in place to replace 14km of it in the next two years.
A new 10km pipe is also planned to connect the water supply systems for east and west Guildford, which are currently not linked.
This will enable water to be moved from one area to another to keep more taps flowing during operational incidents.
Guildford MP Angela Richardson said: “Guildford is a beautiful, dynamic, and constantly-changing place. As our way of life evolves, so does our demand for water. The historic nature of our local area greatly limits the construction of new water infrastructure, which is why I am delighted to welcome the £55.7 m investment from Thames Water into upgrading the existing water supply, with a view to making it more sustainable and reliable.”
Thames Water also plans to install more smart water meters and aims to have the majority of the homes it supplies across Guildford on meters by 2025.
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