Anglian Water - Fens Reservoir
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Update – 25 April 2024

Bold new vision unveiled for proposed reservoir in the Fens, ahead of second phase consultation launch.

The reservoir will supply enough water for around a quarter of a million homes, as well as protecting the environment by enabling a reduction in the amount of water taken from rivers and underground aquifers elsewhere in the region.

Anglian Water and Cambridge Water have released an artist’s impression of the proposals for a new reservoir in the Fens, offering an idea of what the site close to Chatteris, Doddington and March could look like in the future.

The design, which has evolved using the valuable feedback from the first phase of consultation, is characterised by its bold ‘ammonite’ shape. The illustrative image shows how the proposed reservoir could become an exciting new visitor destination, creating jobs, and wider economic, environmental, leisure and health benefits for the local community. The new birds-eye view also illustrates the project’s aim to create a place that brings people, nature and water together.

The reservoir embankments feature public pathways and exciting landscape forms, with clear potential to host water sports. The design also shows how the reservoir could link to nearby towns and villages and includes wetland areas for wildlife.

Anglian Water and Cambridge Water have announced plans for a second phase of public consultation on the reservoir proposals, which will take place from 30 May to 25 July. Over the eight week consultation period, the water companies will be asking for feedback on the proposed design and the associated water infrastructure required to fill the reservoir, treat the water, and transport it to homes and businesses. Prior to the commencement of the public consultation, the companies are engaging with property and landowners who may be impacted by the proposals.

Projections from the Met Office show that the East of England will become hotter and drier in summer, and wetter in winter, meaning that there is a pressing need to store winter water to cope with summer droughts.

Unless bold action is taken, the demand for water will outstrip the available supply within the next decade, making the reservoir project vital for the continued growth and prosperity of the region. The proposed reservoir in the Fens is part of a multi-billion investment programme from Anglian Water, with the water company currently building a network of strategic pipelines to bring water from wetter to drier parts of the region, which will help to secure water supplies while two new reservoirs are being built (the other proposed to be located in Lincolnshire).

This project forms part of the companies' long term Water Resources Management Plans, which look 25 years ahead, with the objective of making the region resilient to drought, while improving environmental protection. It will build on decades of existing investment in resilient infrastructure by the water companies, which has successfully balanced the needs of people and the environment whilst avoiding hosepipe bans for customers even in hot and dry conditions such as summer 2022.

Dr Geoff Darch, Head of Supply Demand Strategy for Anglian Water said:

"In a future with more people but less reliable rainfall the reservoir will have a crucial role to provide future water supply. However, our aspiration goes beyond a reservoir for public water supply. Our intention is to design a reservoir that the local community can be proud of, and that will encourage people to visit and enjoy its surroundings.

“The reservoir will benefit the local environment, creating new opportunities for nature to flourish, as well as contributing to the health and wellbeing of the community and boosting the local economy. It could also serve as an educational hub, using the reservoir to teach future generations about how water shapes our lives and the environment. The success of our existing water parks like Rutland and Grafham Water are testament to the positive impact sites like these have for the surrounding community as well as well as boosting the local economy.”

The reservoir would allow Anglian Water and Cambridge Water to collect excess river water in winter, when flows are at their highest, and store it for use in dry summers, when water is scarcer. This would reduce the reliance on sensitive ground water sources such as chalk streams, helping to protect and restore the environment.

In the future, the reservoir could be home to a range of recreational activities, including fishing, water sports and bird watching. And, through the design of its embankments, could also provide new walking and cycling routes to be enjoyed by the local community and visitors.

Anglian Water’s other reservoirs, including Rutland Water and Grafham Water, welcome more than two million people each year, with the proposed Fens site also looking to create more jobs and stimulate tourism in the region.

Natalie Akroyd, Director of Quality and Environment for Cambridge Water, added:

“Engaging with local communities and wider stakeholders is an important part of how we are developing our plans and we look forward to updating the public on other key aspects of the project at our upcoming consultation.

We will be hosting a wide range of consultation materials on the project website, while engaging directly with the community through a series of in-person events across the proposed area, ensuring information is accessible to as many people as possible. These events are a great opportunity for the public to engage with the project team and we look forward to welcoming further feedback on our emerging design.”

During the forthcoming consultation, a range of information, including an interactive map and master plan, project brochures and an educational animation will be made available on the project website. The consultation will run from 30 May until 25 July 2024.

For more information on the proposed Fens Reservoir and the forthcoming consultation, please visit:fensreservoir.co.uk

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Contact the project team today.

Freephone: 0800 915 2492

Email: info@fensreservoir.co.uk

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