The £100 million reservoir is being developed in collaboration with Southern Water and will make use of Portsmouth’s resilient spring supplies in the otherwise seriously water-stressed region to create a strategic new water resource.
It will also enable transfers from the company’s existing network to the wider South East, as well as create new wildlife habitats and a community green space and leisure facilities.
The reservoir is scheduled to be built, filled and operational by 2029 – and is set to be the final piece of a jigsaw which will see Portsmouth Water export around 60 million litres of water a day to Southern Water – around a quarter of its daily output.
The scheme arose out of the modelling of the Water Resources South East (WRSE) group and is included in both Portsmouth Water and Southern Water’s long-term Water Resources Management Plans and 2020-25 Business Plans.
“We’re delighted to have the expertise of Atkins on board for what is a critical water-supply infrastructure scheme for the wider South East as supplies come under increasing pressure from climate change and population growth,” said Portsmouth Water’s chief executive, Bob Taylor.
“We’re all taking steps to reduce leakage and help customers use less water, and by working together with Southern Water we’re also able to help them reduce abstraction from sensitive environments.
“This market-based project meets the criteria set out by Government and the National Infrastructure Commission to meet future water demand in England and Wales – through storage infrastructure and strategic transfers. So, it’s vital we progress this first collaborative initiative to set the path for future investment. Atkins’ support will ensure we can do this,” added Taylor.
Atkins will be focused on the investigations, assessments and design required to submit an outline planning application in late 2020.
It will also support the company’s extensive customer engagement and participation programme.
“This is a great opportunity to redefine best practice in reservoir design,” said Atkins’ water market director, Richard Whale.
Collaboration and innovation will play an integral part in the design of the reservoir and its surrounding infrastructure, and owing to our industry-leading digital capabilities, we are already working closely with Portsmouth Water on the creation of this critical water resource for the community.”