Over the past few years the reservoir has been increased in size by almost 60%. This will help to meet the demand for more water due to local population increases. The extension scheme’s main civil engineering elements were finished in December 2013. It took a further year for the reservoir to fill up and Sir David Attenborough officially opened it in June 2015.
In the 1930’s, shortly after the reservoir was originally built, it was colonised by birdlife and is now an internationally important wildfowl wetland. This meant that, when Abberton Reservoir was chosen as the best site to add to Essex & Suffolk Water’s supply capacity, safeguarding this wildlife habitat was vitally important. By re-profiling the reservoir edge a further 200ha of shallow water habitat, which is crucial for feeding wildfowl, was created. The scheme also includes new reed beds, nesting islands and woodland.
The extension to the reservoir’s main dam, four new smaller dams and new perimeter road were built using recycled material and aggregates sourced from within the site. This approach reduced the disruption and pollution from construction traffic.
The scheme has won many awards including an Exceptional Merit Award from ICE East of England. It has also been cited as an example of best practice in the 2012 Government review of the Habitats Directive.