The Angling Trust: ‘In response to Thames Water’s draft 2019 Water Resource Management Plan (WRMP), the Angling Trust has called for the long-promised investment in a new reservoir at Abingdon in Oxfordshire to begin immediately rather than delayed until 2044.

The Trust believes that the over reliance on demand management and leakage in the current plan is woefully inadequate to save the disappearing chalk streams and other rivers of the south east of England. Thames Water had previously promised to work towards ceasing abstractions from all chalk streams in its area.

Every five years, each water company in England is required to produce a revised WRMP to plan for how the necessary water resources will be provided over the next investment period. Due to the pressures of climate change and population growth, many water companies in areas of ‘water stress’ (particularly the South East) are now producing plans looking ahead over much longer periods. In the case of Thames Water – the company supplying the greatest number of households – plans are looking forwards 80 years.

The last reservoir built in the South East was Farmoor in 1976 and since then the population in the region has increased massively. Ten years ago, in a previous iteration of their WRMP, Thames Water proposed to build a hugely significant new storage reservoir near Abingdon in Oxfordshire. The reservoir has the potential to reduce the reliance of Thames Water and other surrounding water companies on abstractions from chalk aquifers, which provide the lifeblood of our precious chalk streams. This is particularly applicable to Affinity Water, which supplies water to much of the north London population but has virtually no surface water storage facilities whatsoever, relying almost exclusively on abstraction from groundwater supplies. The Abingdon Reservoir, with a capacity of 281 million litres a day, will take surplus water from the Thames in the winter and allow transfers down the river at times of low flows to abstraction points downstream. This in turn will allow reduced abstraction from threatened rivers like the Chess and Colne.’ Click here to read more

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