Interim update – 29 September 2021
We’re now able to unveil the latest developments in our plans to support our commitment to deliver two vital aims associated with delivering a resilient water future for Hampshire:
- To protect the Rivers Test and Itchen, two of the world’s finest chalk streams by substantially reducing the amount of water taken from them.
- To safeguard vital public water supplies now and in future by making up the shortfall via alternative, sustainable sources.
We have been developing a series of potential options to achieve these vital twin aims, alongside investment to reduce leakage and improve water efficiency.
A wide-ranging and collaborative assessment of these options with regulators and other statutory consultees, stakeholders and customers has been completed, including a detailed options appraisal process to consider their likely viability and potential impacts.
Options assessed included a desalination plant, several different configurations of water recycling, using advanced treatment techniques to turn what was previously regarded as wastewater into drinking water. We are also exploring building a new pipeline to transport more water from the Havant Thicket Reservoir to our Otterbourne Water Supply Works in consultation with Portsmouth Water.
Why are we looking at different options now?
From the options appraisal process, water recycling and water transfers were assessed as preferable, particularly when impacts on the environment were considered. Desalination ranked lower than these options.
Consequently, we have written to our regulators informing them that we’re continuing to explore our proposals for water recycling and water transfer solutions and do not intend to further develop plans for desalination.
Mark Wintringham, Head of Delivery for Water for Life – Hampshire, said: “The need for new resources is driven by reductions in the amount of water we can take from Hampshire’s rivers during a drought and accelerated by climate change and a growing population.
“As a result, we are developing a holistic approach to the water resources challenge in Hampshire that will put the county at the vanguard of sustainable water resources solutions.
“Our proposals, which include investing to reduce leakage and improve water efficiency, will help keep Hampshire’s rivers and taps flowing for us and future generations and pave the way for similar approaches for the rest of the region and indeed the country.”
What happens now?
We are now progressing further investigations and development of the remaining options ahead of our next submission to regulators in December 2021, when we will select our preferred solution, before carrying out further engagement and consultation, and starting the planning process.
Submission documents are available within our technical documents.