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Column 6th May 2020

Resources dripping away as leakage tackled at slow rate

Thames Water have just released their Water Resources Management Plan 2020 – 2100.

No, it doesn’t provide an update on the future of a reservoir between Marcham and Grove.

It does say that they have agreed funding to undertake further studies on five new strategic water supply options (including our reservoir), working closely with other water companies to benefit the whole of the South East.

These studies will be overseen by an organisation called RAPID – a consortium of water industry regulators – and the work will be managed through a new “gated” regulatory process.

The process is designed to make sure all new strategic water supply options are considered in a fair and consistent way.

We have registered with RAPID to be part of the consultation so we’ll keep you informed.

In the meantime, they have stopped taking water from Letcombe Brook so it should now revert to natural levels.

They will continue working to finish laying the new pipeline up to Childrey Warren.  Due to coronavirus this is behind schedule and they will be working in the Letcombe area until at least May, perhaps longer.

Their new Management Plan says that they will invest in their network of over 31,000 km of pipes, some of which are over 100 years old. They currently lose around 25% of water through leaks.

Yet by 2025 they are only committing to reducing leaks by 15% so will still be losing more than 21% of water.

At the same time they must be spending a fortune on the problems with groundwater getting into the waste water pipes and flooding the treatment works.

We know that when we had all the rain earlier in the year Lambourn had raw sewage running down the street and even now tankers are carrying waste water several times every hour (24 hours each day) from sewage pumping stations in Lambourn  to pumping stations in Hanney to manage the flows and prevent flooding.

The East Shefford Drainage Strategy was written at least 5 years ago and refers to an improved Drainage Strategy to be completed by 2017 – no sign of it yet.

In the meantime, houses in Newbury Street and Ham Road in Wantage are shaking as the lorries trundle past night and day.

This can’t be cost effective and can’t continue for ever.

It must be increasing the cost to you and me and definitely doesn’t reduce the carbon footprint of Thames Water.


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