Suffolk: Hosepipe ban will remain in force despite scheme to transfer millions of litres of water from the west

SUFFOLK: Drought-hit East Anglia’s water stocks could be replenished with supplies from the Midlands, it has emerged.

But bosses at Anglian Water today claimed the current hosepipe ban will remain in force even if the radical new proposals are adopted.

The idea to flow 30 million litres per day from the Midlands into the east is being considered by Severn Trent and Anglian Water.

The water, which would be transferred via boreholes in Birmingham along the rivers to Gainsborough in Lincolnshire, would be sufficient to supply 100,000 homes in the East Anglia region.

The cost of the scheme is being negotiated but, if approved, the project could start within months.

It is not known at this stage how long water would be supplied for.

But while the idea would help ease the pressures of the drought, it is unlikely to bring an end to the hosepipe ban, which came into force last week.

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Simon Love, head of drought response at Anglian Water, said: “We are talking to Severn Trent about this idea and it’s one that we are taking seriously.

“We are exploring a number of options to help support the drought-hit region, including the movement of water across water company boundaries.

“In the short term though, it’s vital that everyone takes steps to save water in the home. Large-scale support like this scheme could help, but even if we are able to make it work, it won’t mean we can cancel this summer’s hosepipe ban.”

David Essex, water strategy manager for Severn Trent, which supplies water to 3.7 million homes across Wales and the Midlands, said “Technical discussions are underway and this could happen as early as June.

“We will soon be able to confirm if we are in a position to be able to help our neighbours while having enough to keep our own customers in supply.

“This project could be a sign of things to come, as water becomes scarcer and needs to be moved around the country.”

n What do you think of this idea to share water? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starnews@archant.co.uk

Hosepipe ban:

THE hosepipe ban came into force in the county last week – for the first time in 20 years.

It followed the driest 18 months in the region for more than a century.

According to weather forecasts, it is due to rain for the rest of the week, but Anglian Water has reiterated that it is autumn and winter rain which is needed to make the difference.

A spokesman for the water firm added: “We are looking at a number of different options for possible solutions and encourage water efficiency where we can.

“The recent rainfall has helped but we need autumn and winter rainfall which is when we expect to recharge supplies.”

In yesterday’s Star, we revealed how Anglian Water lost 230 litres a day in the last financial year due to leaks.

How the transfer of water would work:

WATER would come from boreholes in Birmingham, travel down the River Tame, on to the River Trent and then up to Gainsborough in Lincolnshire.

Once the water reaches Gainsborough, it would then be transferred to treatment works before being farmed out to Anglian Water customers.

The scheme is being explored by the Collaborative Drought Planning Group, alongside Water UK. Any final proposal would need to be agreed by the Environment Agency before it would be put into operation.

Over the last six months Severn Trent has focused on moving raw water supplies across its water ‘grid’ from the wetter West to the drier East to balance out regional supplies. Careful water resources management from river and ground water sources, including the development of a new over-land pipeline at Draycote Reservoir has also helped to strengthen the system.