Portsmouth Water says reservoir plans at Havant Thicket are vital for future generations

A WATER company has insisted its plans to build a new water reservoir are critical to keep taps flowing for future generations.

By Tom Cotterill
Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 2:20 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 2:26 pm

Portsmouth Water has submitted a planning application to build a new reservoir on Havant Thicket to provide water to the south east, and another application has been submitted for a pipeline to fill the reservoir with water.

Now Portsmouth Water has reiterated that new water reserve is desperately needed.

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Areas of Havant Thicket which could be impacted by the reservoir plans. Picture: Emily Turner

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A spokeswoman for the company told The News: ‘Havant Thicket Reservoir is an environmentally-led scheme which would secure vital water supplies for future generations – and much needed water to protect Hampshire’s extremely rare chalk streams.

‘The south east is water-stressed and the challenges to supply reliable water are growing in the face of climate change, extensive house building and the need to take less from sensitive sources.

‘The reservoir will play a key role in protecting two of Hampshire’s world-famous chalk streams – the River Test and River Itchen.

‘We all turn our taps on every day and expect clean, fresh and reliable water so it’s important we act now to secure the supplies we need for our daily essentials, to support businesses, grow food and create energy.

‘We have driven down leakage to its lowest levels and continually promote water saving, but on its own these are not enough to secure the water we all need for the future.’

The water company said the reservoir would allow a transfer of up to 21 million litres a day to be made to Southern Water from other sources further west in Hampshire.

The firm said the project lead to the creation of a green leisure hub, with a visitor centre, accessible facilities for community and education activities and a three-mile network of paths for walkers, cyclists and horse-riders.

It would also provide an extended network of paths and bridleways and opportunities to create local jobs, apprenticeships and volunteering.

A spokeswoman added that ‘regrettably’ trees would have to be removed to meet the ‘overriding public need for water’ and that designs have been adapted to reduce this to a ‘minimum’ of about 12.5 hectares.

‘We considered more than 70 potential sites but a reservoir needs to be close to a sustainable source of water and very few options exist for this – other sites weren’t large enough or had larger areas of woodland,’ the spokeswoman said.

Havant Borough Council’s planning committee will be discussing the applications on Thursday.

It will later go on to East Hampshire District Council on Wednesday, June 9, which is responsible for part of the area that would be affected by the plans.

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