Plans for three new reservoirs move a step closer


Ofwat has today given the green light to continue investigation into three new reservoirs, which could supply water for millions of customers.

The reservoir proposals sit alongside nine other infrastructure projects being moved to the next stage of development as part of the regulator’s ongoing efforts to deliver more sustainable and resilient water supplies for the future.

The new reservoirs would be in Oxfordshire, Lincolnshire, and Cambridgeshire and could meet the needs of over 3 million customers. The overall package of 12 proposed solutions, from seven different water companies, also includes recycling water, and transferring water from where there is more to where there is less.

The programme of infrastructure investment is overseen by the Regulators Alliance for Progressing Infrastructure Development (RAPID) an alliance of water regulators in England and Wales with support from CCW, Natural England and Natural Resources Wales.

RAPID have been working for four years to bring forward major investment and infrastructure innovations to benefit customers and the environment.

These 12 schemes will now receive ring-fenced funding to further investigate the technical issues and environmental impacts to inform decision-making by companies on the best-value solutions.

The proposed solutions are now open for representations and there will be further opportunities for stakeholders to comment as the plans progress.

While RAPID has endorsed taking these plans to the next stage of development, the ultimate decisions will be taken through the Water Resources Management Planning (WRMP) process overseen by UK and Welsh Governments. The schemes will also need to obtain planning permission and other permits.

Paul Hickey, RAPID Managing Director said:

“The water sector needs to act now to secure future needs of customers and the environment. Finding new sustainable and resilient ways to maintain water supply across the country is vital, and all the more pressing given climate change, the increase in population and economic development.

“These schemes we are moving to the next stage of planning could meet the needs for millions of customers while safeguarding the environment.”


Notes to editors:

  • Ofwat’s draft decisions on the gate two solutions. 
  • Letters to companies– Affinity Water, Anglian Water, Cambridge Water (South Staffs Water), Severn Trent Water, Southern Water, Thames Water, United Utilities.
  • Infographics of the proposed solutions
  • The Regulators’ Alliance for Progressing Infrastructure Development (RAPID)was set up in 2019. It is a partnership made up of the water regulators – Ofwat, the Environment Agency (EA), the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI).
  • RAPID was formed to help facilitate the development and funding of these new large scale strategic water supply solutions. Each of the strategic solutions will pass through a gated process where decisions are made on delivery penalties and solution progression.
  • RAPID continues to closely monitor progress of the solutions through regular checkpoint with the water companies.
  • Cheddar Two Source and Transfer and Poole Effluent Recycling and Transfers draft decisions have been postponed due to the delayed publication of South West Water’s water resource management plan. They will be published on 10 May 2023.