This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book. Water Storage & Irrigation A £2.6bn pipeline could pump water

from North to South United Utilities has drawn up plans to build a £2.6 billion pipeline to pump water from the North to water-stressed Southern England to run alongside the proposed high- speed rail route from London to Birmingham.

Chief Executive Steve Mogford is due to appear before the House of Commons Environment Select Committee on 7th March where he is expected to outline details of the plan to pump up to 66 million gallons of water a day.

Outline figures suggest it would cost £7million a mile to install the 6ft 6in diameter steel pipe. On that basis, the first phase, covering 155-miles from London to Birmingham would cost around £1.1billion. Phase 1 is scheduled for completion in 2026. The second phase, would cover a total of 217 miles from Birmingham to Manchester - including a spur from Birmingham to Leeds, at a cost of £656 million and £875 million from Birmingham to Leeds respectively. Phase 2 is scehduled for completion in 2033

Russ Houlden, chief financial officer at United Utilities, the UK’s largest stock market-listed water company, commented:

‘The current drought emphasises what we have known for some time – that

there is more water available in the North than the South and that this issue will become more acute as climate change impacts hit us over the next 50 years.

'A North-South pipeline could be built to address that. Typically, the objections to such an idea have been build cost, operational cost, planning difficulties and environmental impact.'

A 2006, an Environment Agency report said that there was no evidence to support large-scale water transfers to the south east and that it would be far more economical to develop the necessary reservoirs in the south east.

In 2011 Water UK, said that the possibility of a national water grid was currently ruled out on economic and environmental grounds and that adequate water resources were available to meet society's needs via a combination of medium- and long-term measures. They say that a 'twin track' approach to resources management,by, both reducing demand and enhancing supply within regions will provide the basis for a sustainable long-term strategy without incurring “the major expense and environmental upheaval of a national grid.”

Increased Water Storage at Abberton

Works are well underway on the enlargement of Abberton Reservoir in Essex, which will see the current capacity of 5.7m gallons increased by over 50%. Covering over 1200 acres, the site has a SSSI status and is also classified as a Special Protection Area (SPA), regarded as the most important reservoir in Great Britain for wintering wildfowl.

Long reach excavators on floating pontoons have recently been used to excavate a new outfall into the

reservoir as part of the refurbishment to the existing pumping station. Material was loaded into barges and brought back to the shore for unloading. An underwater dig profile system was fitted to the machine to ensure the outfall trench was accurately constructed, reaching to a depth over 7 metres.

Works had to be carried out inside a specially constructed silt curtain to safeguard water quality within the reservoir.

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Water pipelines around the world, top left,the US, top right, Libya and below in Portugal

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