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South Hampshire water supply scheme

Our plans for a strategic pipeline between our water supply works at Testwood and Otterbourne are now on hold, pending a Public Hearing.


The Hearing relates to the following three abstraction licence change issues:

  • The Environment Agency (EA) application to vary three Southern Water abstraction licences deemed to affect the River Itchen.
  • The EA application to renew its Candover groundwater abstraction licence at lower volume and rates, and to a short time limit.
  • The EA non-determination of Southern Water’s application to further constrain its River Test, Testwood abstraction licence.

The EA has written to the Planning Inspectorate proposing that the examination is scheduled for January 2018. It is hoped the Planning Inspectorate will confirm the date of the examination soon, along with the schedule leading up to it.

Meanwhile, our project to install a new bulk supply of up to 15 million litres of treated water a day from Portsmouth Water at Gaters Mill is progressing well. For more information on this scheme, click here.

Background to the water resources programme

It is vital that we improve the way we use and manage the sources of water in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to provide a better balance for both the environment and customers.

Our plans to secure drinking water supplies for 711,000 people across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are laid out in our Water Resources Management Plan.

Central to the plans is a 19km pipeline, which was first explored as an option in 2012. It will be capable of transferring up to 45 million litres of water a day between our Testwood and Otterbourne water supply works. The pipeline will carry raw, untreated water from the River Test to Otterbourne, where it will be treated and then supplied to homes in the eastern part of the county.

A map of the area

Click on the map to enlarge

The scheme is required because the amount of water we are allowed to take from the River Itchen will be limited in future times of extreme drought to help protect the river’s ecology. This means there is a need to balance this reduction with an increase in the amount of water taken from alternative sources, including the River Test, in order to maintain customers’ supplies.

The Testwood to Otterbourne pipeline will provide an essential strategic link between the two sites, making the network more resilient and flexible by allowing us to move water around the area more easily, especially during times of drought.

The programme’s third element, which was assessed and agreed alongside various organisations over many years, was a project at Candover to top up the River Itchen with water abstracted from the chalk aquifer – bringing further resilience to the river during extreme drought.

However, the EA has since announced plans to renew its Candover abstraction licence at a much reduced five million litres a day rather than the 27 million litres a day we expected.

We had planned to adopt the licence from the EA for short-term use during a severe drought. While we wait for the results of the Hearing, we have suspended any further design or access discussions regarding the Candover scheme until the Environment Agency’s licence renewal process is completed.

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