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Portsmouth Water begins work on new reservoir for the South East

By Tim Wickham
29 September 2021

After years of planning and research, Portsmouth Water is set to begin work on Havant Thicket Reservoir, subject to receiving final permission.

The reservoir is an environmentally-led scheme that will provide a sustainable source of water for the South East and help to safeguard world-renowned chalk streams in Hampshire.

Portsmouth Water has developed an extensive environmental mitigation and compensation package, working with a number of agencies.

This will include planting and improving over 200 hectares of woodland and wood pasture, locating wildlife corridors around the perimeter of the site, creating a new wetland on the northern shore to support threatened bird species, improving local streams and launching a grant scheme to support environmental projects.

Bob Taylor, CEO of Portsmouth Water, said: “This will be a landmark moment for the Havant Thicket Reservoir project. Many years of planning and a great deal of research has gone into this project and I am delighted that work should soon be underway. We are taking every measure possible to minimise disruption. We will also make sure that local roadways are checked regularly for dirt and debris and are cleaned promptly, as required.”

The first stage of work is planned to take place in the autumn to avoid the bird nesting season, allowing contractors to carry out the required tasks in as environmentally a sensitive way as possible. Ecologists will be on site when the clearance work takes place and only ecologists with appropriate licences will be involved.

The company also published feedback received during a public consultation on its plans to manage droughts. Jim Barker, Head of Water Resources Planning at Portsmouth Water, said: “It was reassuring to hear the positive feedback, as when droughts do happen it’s vital we work together so we can maintain reliable supplies.”

Portsmouth Water supplies clean drinking water to an area covering 868 square kilometres and a population of 735,000. It has 30 reservoir sites and 21 treatment works. The business ranked 101 in the latest edition of the Solent 250 list of the biggest businesses in the region.