In January the Herald reported that Thames Water and Affinity Water were among four firms taken to task by regulator Ofwat over their business plans.
The water watchdog said they would have to “substantially rework and resubmit” their five-year plans and will now face increased regulatory scrutiny.
We know that Thames Water are responsible for water services here but the Water Resources Management Plan for Affinity Water will also affect us because the plan helps to justify the proposed Abingdon reservoir.
Thames Water’s reservoir between Steventon, East Hanney and Drayton could be an above-ground reservoir which will be contained by walls between 15 and 25 metres high with building starting in 2025.
It would hold about 150 million cubic metres of water and be capable of providing 600 million litres per day.
More than 50% of the water from the reservoir could be sold to Affinity Water, not used to supply London's growth and the other 50% wouldn’t be needed if Thames Water repaired more leaks.
So the Affinity Water Plan does affect us because it justifies the need for the reservoir.
As Affinity's supposed needs are the driver for the early construction (2025-2037), we believe it is very important that people here reply to this consultation; it closes at midnight on 26 April so we don’t have much time left!
The Group Against Reservoir Development (GARD) found that Affinity Water has not proven the need for the Abingdon Reservoir at any date before the late 2060s, and there is no case for its construction starting early.
There are other, more flexible, and more quickly delivered solutions to the possible supply shortages in Affinity’s central zone from the mid-century onwards, if indeed these arise at all.
They could fully utilise water from their existing connection to Anglian’s Grafham reservoir.
They could repair more leaks. They are refusing to meet the Ofwat target of 50% reduction by 2050, only offering 40%.
They could install more smart meters. They plan to continue to install dumb water meters long after these have been replaced by smart meters by other water companies (which reduce consumption by more than 10%).
Affinity’s own figures show it does not need our reservoir until the early 2050s, so they should not be supporting Thames Water’s plan to bring it forward.
We need everyone to respond to this consultation. Please go to Gard’s website http://www.abingdonreservoir.org.uk/ for more details and to https://stakeholder.affinitywater.co.uk to submit your views.