£6,5million new pipeline removes need to abstract groundwater

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Image by Anglian Water

A PIPELINE project that removes the need for Anglian Water to abstract groundwater at one of the driest parts of the UK is set to start.

On 23 October engineers will begin to install nearly 3km of new pipeline, which enables the company to move water from its water treatment works in Norwich to Ludham in order to maintain water supplies to 3,000 homes.

Currently the local area’s water supply comes from a nearby borehole but in order to protect the surrounding environment of Catfield Fen, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and part of the Norfolk Broads, Anglian Water will stop taking water from the groundwater source once the new pipeline is complete.

“Our region faces some unique challenges. 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”, Hannah Stanley-Jones, Head of Water Resources for Anglian Water, said.

“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.”

The scheme will see a £6,5million investment in the area and will take a year to complete.

“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”, Ms Stanley-Jones continued.

“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.”

Ensuring a resilient infrastructure is a key part of Anglian’s long-term water resources planning.

The Ludham scheme will be supported by the near-complete £34million improvement work at the company’s water treatment works at Heigham in Norwich, due to finish next year, which allows the transfer of water from Norwich to Ludham via Horstead.

This is alongside a £500million longer-term proposal where Anglian intends to build 500km of large-scale pipeline running from Lincolnshire to Suffolk and Essex.

The new series of interconnecting pipes would be installed across the region, allowing the company to move water more freely around the region from areas of water surplus in north Lincolnshire down to the south and east of the region where it is less readily available.

If approved, the works will be one of the largest strategic pipeline projects the UK has ever seen.

These plans are being reviewed by Ofwat.