Lake Windmere, via Istock

Water infrastructure projects to benefit from £1.6bn investment package

The Government and Ofwat have announced today that over £1.6bn will be invested into vital infrastructure that will improve the quality of rivers, lakes and coastal waters, whilst securing the future of water supplies.

This news follows a request from Defra to English water companies to further accelerate the investments between now and 2025, with ambitions to tackle the ongoing issues presented from storm overflow discharges, concurrently reducing nutrient pollution from treatment works and addressing water resilience challenges.

This major announcement has come prior to tomorrow’s publishing of the Integrated Plan for Water, establishing clear guidelines as to how improvements to address levels of waterways pollution can be achieved.

Coming as a segment of the new investment package, companies will pledge £1.1bn to aid in the reduction of damages and harm that stems from the storm overflows, whilst a further £400m will be utilised for the development of further water resilience schemes and a final £160m will be focused on the reduction of nutrient pollution.

The £160m will produce improvements at 14 wastewater treatment works, significantly reducing phosphorus pollution in protected site catchments, including proposals from Anglian Water to both reduce pollution and support sustainable housing development.

The major projects involved with this announcement include:

  • United Utilities reducing around 8,400 spills per year, including reducing discharges into Lake Windermere coming as an £800m investment.
  • Yorkshire Water improving wastewater treatment infrastructure in Ilkley through a £67m funding injection, to improve the bathing water quality of the River Wharfe.
  • South West Water conducting asset and storage upgrades, worth £70m which will reduce discharges in Falmouth and Sidmouth.
  • Anglian Water accelerating its regional storm overflow reduction plan in the east of England through a £27 million funding package.
  • Essex and Suffolk Water increasing water resilience in their area through an investment of £18m, to better meet the needs of local customers, including businesses.
  • Severn Trent utilising £70m to distribute smart meters and modify its Draycote Water reservoir in Warwickshire, which will increase water capacity.

Water Minister Rebecca Pow said:

“These new schemes will help accelerate the delivery of the urgent improvements we need to protect our environment. It includes £1.1 billion of new investment to stop sewage discharges at sites across the country and will deliver a reduction of 10,000 discharges per year in places like Lake Windermere, the River Wharfe, Falmouth and Sidmouth.

“The investment set out here will also provide an important boost for regional jobs, businesses and local communities.

“It builds on the key commitments in our five-year strategy – our Environmental Improvement Plan – as well as our upcoming Plan for Water to tackle pollution, reduce water consumption and protect our waters.”

All works are set to begin in the coming two years, from 2023 to 2025.

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