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The Hampshire Water Transfer and Water Recycling Project

We want to hear your views on our latest proposals for the Hampshire Water Transfer and Water Recycling Project during our eight-week consultation that runs from 29 May to 23 July 2024.

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Why does Hampshire need water recycling?

We rely on the precious chalk streams of the River Test and the River Itchen, and their associated aquifers, to provide the majority of water to our customers in Hampshire.

However, we need to find new sustainable sources of water to help keep taps and rivers flowing, following reductions in the amount of water we can take from the Test and Itchen. The pressures of a growing population and climate change are also increasing the need to take action now.

An infographic illustrating how water will move from the proposed water recycling plant to the Havant Thicket Reservoir
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An aerial view of Budds Farm Wastewater Treatment Works

Our Water Recycling Plant

Our proposed plant will take some treated wastewater from our Budds Farm Wastewater Treatment Works. We'll purify it further using tried and tested advanced water recycling techniques. After further treatment, we'll pump the purified, recycled water into Havant Thicket Reservoir. The reservoir, which is being funded by Southern Water and built by Portsmouth Water, is under construction.

Man in PPE filling plastic bottle for testing

The new pipeline

We’re also proposing to build a new water transfer pipeline. This will take water from the reservoir to our Otterbourne Water Supply Works. Here we'll treat it to drinking water standards and supply it to our customers in Hampshire.

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An aerial view of Budds Farm Wastewater Treatment Works

Our Water Recycling Plant

Our proposed plant will take some treated wastewater from our Budds Farm Wastewater Treatment Works. We'll purify it further using tried and tested advanced water recycling techniques. After further treatment, we'll pump the purified, recycled water into Havant Thicket Reservoir. The reservoir, which is being funded by Southern Water and built by Portsmouth Water, is under construction.

Man in PPE filling plastic bottle for testing

The new pipeline

We’re also proposing to build a new water transfer pipeline. This will take water from the reservoir to our Otterbourne Water Supply Works. Here we'll treat it to drinking water standards and supply it to our customers in Hampshire.

The timeline

Here's a timeline of what we've done so far and how we plan to complete the project by 2034.

1

2019

In 2019 we published our Water Resources Management Plan (WRMP). This sets out how we plan to maintain a reliable water supply in the future.

2

2021

In 2021 we conducted the first public consultation on the preferred strategy (desalination).

3

Summer 2022

In the summer of 2022, we conducted a public consultation on the pipeline route options.

4

2024

We'll conduct a further public consultation on the technical details of the pipeline route and water recycling infrastructure. This will also include a Preliminary Environmental Information Report which will detail potential environmental impacts.

5

2025

We anticipate submitting our consent application in 2025. As part of this, we'll also be submitting an Environmental Statement which includes an assessment of the project's environmental impact.

6

2026

This is when we expect to receive a decision on our consent application.

7

2027

Construction will begin on the project.

8

2034

We expect the Strategic Resource Option to be operational.

Frequently asked questions

Just like water across the country has its own distinct taste influenced by the geology of the local area, the water taken from the reservoir may taste different from existing supplies due to the change in source. The reservoir, while open to the environment (soil, plants, wildlife), may also influence a change in taste from existing supplies. This water will, of course, continue to meet strict drinking water quality standards and be wholesome to drink. We’re working with a range of international experts, our regulators and environmental organisations to develop our plans.

These proposals are separate from the current approved plans for Havant Thicket Reservoir. If they are to go ahead, they'll be subject to further engagement, consultation and planning consent. This is just one of the strategic solutions we're exploring to address water shortages in Hampshire.

The Hampshire Water Transfer and Water Recycling Project is being developed for use primarily during periods of drought. To ensure the continued availability and cleanliness of the water recycling plant and associated pipelines, a continuous ‘sweetening flow’ of water would be pumped into Havant Thicket Reservoir and then onward to Southern Water’s Otterbourne Water Supply Works for further treatment.

A range of studies and investigations are ongoing as part of the consenting process for the Hampshire Water Transfer and Water Recycling Project. We'll prepare a Preliminary Environmental Information Report which will form part of our next stage of public consultation in 2024. This document will report the preliminary findings on any likely significant environmental impacts of the project based on the information available at the time and is designed to inform consultees’ responses to the next consultation. We'll continue to undertake environmental assessments and the main Environmental Impact Assessment will be documented in an Environmental Statement that will be submitted as part of the Development Consent Order application.

Environmental commitments made in respect of the reservoir, particularly around the wetland, will be maintained.

The Hampshire Water Transfer and Water Recycling Project is not expected to require any changes to the size or layout of the reservoir as per the planning approval.

All the environmental and community commitments approved in the original planning application for Havant Thicket Reservoir will be maintained if these additional proposals are progressed.

Aquifer storage and recovery is where treated water is pumped into an aquifer when surplus water is available. This would then be subsequently abstracted during a drought. It needs the aquifer to be “confined” – where it’s one separate underground body of water where the water would remain.

We’ve investigated this option in Hampshire and do have plans for one such scheme in the Lower Test (where the chalk is confined by London Clay) but it can only provide about 5.5 million litres a day. This is much less than the water transfer and water recycling option we’re pursuing. This project is currently forecast for 2040–41. The issue elsewhere in Hampshire is that the aquifer is unconfined – e.g., the water would simply flow away and could not be guaranteed to remain where it’s put.

Impurities removed from the recycled water will be released back into the Solent via the existing long sea outfall at Budds Farm (5.7km out to sea). This is called the reject stream and will mix with the remaining treated wastewater from Budds Farm. As the source water for water recycling is treated wastewater, there won't be any increase in impurities in the reject stream (as these impurities would have already been in the treated wastewater) but they will be more highly concentrated. We're modelling the reject stream quality and exploring with the Environment Agency whether this increase in concentration requires any application to amend our current permit for the long sea outfall.

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