WaGCG : Wantage and Grove Campaign Group
Wantage and Grove Campaign Group (WaGCG)

Column 18th January 2023

The largest bunded reservoir in the Northern Hemisphere.

The Mega-Reservoir is still centre stage in the plans for Water Resources in the South East and it’s still a bad idea.

To find out more, come along to our public meeting on 27th January at 7.30pm in Old Mill Hall, Grove.

The Water Resources Management Plan 2024 includes the Mega-Reservoir to be completed by 2040, but (in the same way as they did in 2010) they are proposing a slightly smaller version at 100 billion litres instead of 150 billion.

It is still a water tank above ground (nothing like those reservoirs which fill valleys and provide recreation facilities). This will be a huge flan case, with walls (bunds) the height of about eight elephants and covering the same area as Gatwick Airport.

We have been here before: just before the 2010 Public Inquiry, Thames Water reduced the size of the proposed reservoir in just this fashion (150 billion litres down to 100 billion) in the hope it would sneak through the Public Inquiry.
The Inspector still threw out the plans. We need to make sure that this happens again.

If it goes ahead, it will take over 10 years of disruptive work to build and cause huge environmental damage, have a huge carbon footprint and result in the loss of biodiversity.

It will still be the largest bunded reservoir in the Northern Hemisphere.

According to Thames Waters own report in 2018 it will still be larger than the maximum size where proper flood risk compensation could be achieved and we all know how easily it floods here in the Vale – this will only make it worse.

Already work has stopped on the next phase of the Monks Farm development due to large parts of the site being under standing water.

The water transfer proposals from the Severn, (where water is abstracted from the River Severn near Deerhurst for transfer via a new underground pipeline to the Thames near Culham) are much more resilient to drought, but these have been pushed back to 2040.

At the same time Thames Water are being allowed to miss their leakage targets and are still losing a quarter of all the water in their pipes.

We are working with GARD (Group Against Reservoir Development) to unpick the data and arguments that the Water Companies have put forward. There are many redactions and contradictions which need to be unpicked.

Spread the word and come to our meeting.

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