RESERVOIR PLAN REMAINS A THREAT!
THAMES WATER'S LATEST
5-YEARLY DRAFT PUBLISHED – FOR CONSULTATION BY 23 JULY 2013
Gard’s detailed response sent to Thames Water by 23rd july with copies to DEFRA, the Environment Agency, OFWAT, the Consumer Council for Water, CPRE and the Cotswold Canal Trust. Click here for GARD's detailed response.
BACKGROUND to THAMES WATER’s LATEST DRAFT PLAN (dWRMP 14)
For many years Thames Water (TW) have been determined to build a major reservoir across approximately 5,000 acres of productive farmland south west of Abingdon. It is the view of GARD (Group Against Reservoir Development), but also independently supported, that TW’s overriding strategic objective is to build this reservoir mainly to meet the financial interests of its shareholders, rather than its customers’. Click here to Water Resources for further information.
Following the Public Inquiry held in 2010 into TW’s 2009 Plan, the Inspector concluded that this Plan was not fit for purpose and TW’s proposed reservoir (described as the Upper Thames Reservoir – UTR) had not been justified. The Inspector’s findings required TW to examine in detail a number of alternative ways of meeting London’s forecast water demands over the forthcoming 25 year period. Click here for further information on the public enquiry.
As these requirements have evidently still not been fully researched, TW’s latest draft Plan for the next 25 years (dWRMP 14), does not specifically include the earlier proposed major reservoir.
But, to summarise, TW state that their planned intention is to invest in major new supply resources from one, or more, of three main options:
- Further development of water re-use (following research into improved treatment methods).
- R Severn to R Thames water transfer to top up London reservoirs as required.
- A new reservoir of as yet unspecified capacity (an Abingdon UTR).
To achieve long term cost effective and sustainable solutions, TW face the challenge of researching objectively these three options over the next 5 years, by the time the next Plan is due i.e. dWRMP 19 in 2019.
GARD’s firm belief, after thorough professional investigation, is that bulk transfer from R Severn will prove to be the most appropriate, least costly and least environmentally damaging option. Above all, it offers very significant scope for any future increased water supply needs for London, particularly when further water resources are offered from both Severn Trent and the United Utilities’ Vyrnwy reservoir which have not yet been properly addressed by Thames Water. These will have the major advantage of eliminating any dependency on supplies from the over-abstracted R Thames flow or from ground water within TW’s region. There is no need whatsoever for an Abingdon reservoir of any size.
ABOUT GARD (Group Against Reservoir Development). GARD is a group of individuals whose aim is to identify and promote viable solutions to meet the future needs of water users in the Thames Water Region. GARD is advised by eminent water industry practitioners. Our committee is composed of voluntary, unpaid members with technical experience, each of whom is free from any political or vested interests. Click here for names of committee members and advisors.