South East Water Experts call for new source of water supply

The Institution of Civil Engineers’ London and South East Expert Water Panel, has called for policy makers to rethink the development of a new water resource.

London and South East Water Panel Chair Dave Wardle.
London and South East Water Panel Chair Dave Wardle.

A group of water experts from the London and South East regions of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has emphasised the need for a new source of water supply in the South East to combat demand from a growing population and more adverse weather conditions.

In a report launched today (Monday 18th January), the London and South East Expert Water Panel set out the need for a new water source. The Panel have examined the three options being investigated by Thames Water as part of its Water Resource Management Plan. These are: a reservoir at Abingdon, the transfer of raw water from the River Severn and a wastewater reuse site at Deephams or Beckton Sewage Treatment Works.

The Panel's initial analysis of the options has shown that an "Abingdon Reservoir would ensure a long term water supply" for the future and is, at some point "inevitable". However, with the Reservoir not deliverable before 2027/8 (when a gap in supply is predicted), the Panel call on Thames Water to consider other options and to continue their programme of water efficiency savings.

Dave Wardle, Chair of the London and South East Expert Water Panel said: "Due to climate change and an increasing population, it is essential that we prepare for higher water demand over the next two decades. Thames Water is considering three options to increase water supply, each with different benefits and costs.

"The Panel's analysis suggests that, at some time in the future, we will require a large scale water resource, such as the Abingdon Reservoir. The other solutions screened by Thames Water, the wastewater treatment site and the raw water transfer, can be provided in a shorter timeframe, but require further evaluation. Thames Water must continue with this open and transparent process to determine what solution is best.

"Simultaneously, Thames Water must continue to make water efficiency savings and take measures to reduce demand."

Read the Report:

Developing a New Water Resource in the South East England Region, Policy Position Paper.