A consultation has launched today for plans to build a huge reservoir in Abingdon, in efforts to address climate change and challenge looming water shortages.

Plans for a huge reservoir in Abingdon resurfaced in September 2021.

Water regulator Ofwat published documents revealing plans for reservoirs across England in a bid to tackle the effects of climate change.

Herald Series:

Now, a consultation has been launched by Water Resources South East (WRSE).

The emerging regional plan sets out the action that could be needed to avoid a potential one billion litre per day shortfall in water supplies within the next 15 years.

According to WRSE, by 2040, the combination of climate change, population growth, the need to provide higher levels of protection against drought, could require a long-term programme of investment of around £8 billion to avoid a shortfall in water supplies in the South East. This could rise to £17 billion by 2060.

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The emerging plan tackles the environmental emergency facing the region’s waters. It considers how water companies could further reduce their reliance on sensitive sources, such as chalk rivers and groundwater, that could be vulnerable to climate change. It identifies the options needed to replace them including alternative sources and ambitious and sustained reductions in how much water is used and wasted.

Herald Series: Proposed land for the reservoir Proposed land for the reservoir

In the period between 2025 and 2040 this includes:

• Around £5 billion of investment by water companies to reduce leakage and help customers use water more efficiently and identifies the need for Government to act to reduce water use across society.

 • The development of three new reservoirs in the South East to store more water when it is available.

 • Schemes that will enhance the treatment of wastewater so it can be returned to the environment from where it will be abstracted and used again.

• More than 200 nature-based schemes that would see water companies working with environmental groups to improve the region’s rivers and streams that provide water supplies.

The three new reservoirs could provide around 325 million litres of water each day.

Read again: Plans for giant "habitat destroying" reservoir in Abingdon resurface

Beyond 2040 the emerging plan identifies additional options that could be needed including moving water from different parts of the country and additional reservoirs, water recycling and desalination schemes.

To find out more about WRSE’s emerging regional plan and respond to the consultation visit www.wrse.org.uk the consultation is open until March 14, 2022.

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