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‘Critical decisions’ needed soon on water resources

Decisions on major water supply projects will need to be made in the next two or three years if they are to be operational in time to avert future droughts and severe water shortages, speakers said at Utility Week Live in Birmingham.

Yvette de Garis, head of environmental regulation at Thames Water, outlined Thames’s immediate water resource plans which include aquifer recharge and the purchase of extra water from RWEnpower in combination with leakage reduction and demand-side measures such as metering and a water efficiency campaign to reduce per capita consumption. But she also highlighted the options for London and the South East in the longer term, which include water reuse, the construction of a new reservoir in Oxfordshire (the South East Strategic Reservoir Option or SESRO) and the Severn-Thames Transfer (STT) project.

She said that because of the long lead times involved with these projects – seven years for the water reuse plant and 15 years for the new reservoir – and uncertainty over what could be achieved with demand management, ‘critical’ decisions on proceeding with these schemes would need to be made in the next two to three years.

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