Portsmouth Water and Southern Water have signed an 80-year bulk supply agreement,
under which Portsmouth will supply 21 million litres of water a day to Southern, up to a 1-
in-200-year drought, enabled Havant Thicket Reservoir. It is hoped this new way of working
that will provide a blueprint for future planning.
Together, the companies are developing Havant Thicket Reservoir in Portsmouth Water’s supply area, to enable reliable supplies for Southern Water’s customers in Hampshire.
It will be the first new reservoir to be developed in the UK since the 1980s and will play a key role in reducing abstraction from the region’s internationally-renowned chalk streams, the Rivers Itchen and Test.
It will also be the first time a significant water supply asset has been developed in this way, in one water company’s supply area to share supplies with another company’s customers – potentially establishing a precedent for others to follow.
Taking a regional view
The government is currently calling for water companies to invest in more resilience projects to help supply water, such as reservoirs and regional transfers. Projects like this are needed to secure reliable water supplies for the future, alongside reducing the amount of water lost through leaks and encouraging people to use less water.
This will help the country tackle extremes in weather such as droughts, which are likely to happen more often and be more serious, as our climate changes. It will also help provide water supplies t more customers in the future as the population grows in the UK and enable water companies to leave more water in the environment to support habitats and wildlife.
Havant Thicket Reservoir has been enabled through the regional strategy of the Water Resources South East (WRSE) group, which includes six water companies in the region and their regulators. It marks the success of moving towards strengthened regional planning to identify the best value schemes to increase resilience and deliver environmental improvements.
Portsmouth Water will construct the reservoir in its supply area so it is operational by 2029. Further investigations are also underway as part of the RAPID programme and WRMP 24 planning to explore if the reservoir could play an even greater role in supporting resilience in the future, through new transfers and as a conduit for recycled or desalinated water.
Portsmouth Water and Southern Water have now signed an 80-year Bulk Supply Agreement, under which Portsmouth Water will supply 21 million litres a day to Southern Water, up to a 1 in 200-year drought – an arrangement made possible by Havant Thicket Reservoir being in place.
The need for the reservoir
The South East of England, as a whole, is under ‘serious water stress’ and water companies are being asked to take less water from some of their sources – such as the chalk streams and…