£9.6m water scheme gets under way

An £9.6m scheme to pump millions of litres of extra water a day into Northamptonshire took a big step forward this week with the installation of two huge pumps at Melchbourne in Bedfordshire.

Together with another set of pumps at Wellingborough, they will allow Anglian Water to move an extra 40m litres of treated drinking water from Grafham Water in Cambridgeshire each day.

Steve Swan, of Anglian Water’s special projects team, said: “Water from Grafham already supplies places as far afield as Milton Keynes, Bedford and Northampton. This new scheme will allow us to pump even more water to the region in times of need.

“Initially, the project was designed to take pressure off our drought-hit reservoir at Pitsford, which was very low following two dry winters. However, exceptionally heavy rainfall in April – the wettest in 113 years of records – has seen levels in the reservoir return to normal.

“Nevertheless, this scheme and others like it are vital if we are to increase the ability of our network to deal with any future droughts.”

Grafham Water supplies up to 320m litres a day, with around 80m litres serving parts of Northamptonshire. When needed, the new pumps will increase that supply, conserving stores at Pitsford and the nearby reservoirs at Ravensthorpe and Hollowell.

Mr Swan added: “Once all the pumps are installed, they will undergo rigorous testing before coming into service in early October.

“Despite the lifting of the hosepipe ban, some of the region’s groundwater levels remain lower than we would ideally want going into the summer so it is important that customers continue taking steps to be water efficient.

“Things like taking shorter showers, only using washing machines when full, not leaving taps running and finding alternatives to the hosepipe when watering your garden or cleaning the car are great ways to save water while not going without.”