Plans for a huge reservoir could help reverse the decline in freshwater species, according to the Angling Trust.

The plans for a reservoir in Abingdon resurfaced in September 2021. Water regulator Ofwat published documents, revealing plans for reservoirs across England, in efforts to address climate change and challenge looming water shortages.

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

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.

Read also: Consultation launched for huge reservoir in Abingdon

WRSE revealed its plans for between 2025 and 2040, which includes plans for three new reservoirs in the South East to store more water when it is available.

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

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The Angling Trust are in support of the Abingdon reservoir and say the reservoir can help reverse the decline in many freshwater species and other wildlife that rely on freshwater habitats like wetlands, including many migratory birds.

Stuart Singleton-White, head of campaigns said: “This reservoir has the potential to not only meet our future water supply needs, it can also become a major biodiversity and recreational asset for this region.”

The Angling Trust also say the reservoir will help to protect chalk streams and rivers. Mr Singleton-White highlighted that a lot of water is taken from the chalk aquifer in the South East.

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He explained this means there is not enough left for chalk streams, and in the summer many of them are drying up along great stretches of their course. 

Mr Singleton-White believes the reservoir is a good way of tackling water shortages and preventing these stretches of chalk streams to dry out.

He said: “Many people will have seen the devastating impact the pollution, including raw sewage, is having on our rivers.  The Angling Trust, along with many local campaign groups, has been fighting to see our rivers cleaned up for years. 

“But much as we need our water to be clean and of good quality, for us, our fish and our wildlife to enjoy, we also need to manage how much water we use and how much we leave in our rivers and environment.  And in the South-East, a severely water-stressed region of England, we are quite simply running out of water.”

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