New reservoirs planned in water supply strategy

A new reservoirs is on the cards for the Fens as part of a strategy to boost water supplies and reduce flooding

A new reservoirs is on the cards for the Fens as part of a strategy to boost water supplies and reduce flooding - Credit: Anglian Water

A new reservoir around the size of Grafham Water could be built in the Fens as part of a new strategy to ensure the region has sufficient future water supplies and to help cope with potential flooding.

The reservoir is one of two put forward by Huntingdon-based Anglian Water in a scheme costing up to £2bn and looking 20 years into the future.

Its exact location has not been decided but is expected to be on the Cambridgeshire-Norfolk border. The second reservoir is expected to be near Spalding in South Lincolnshire.

Anglian Water was one of the key players in the launch of The Future Fens: Integrated Adaptation launched at the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow.

The water firm is working with Water Resources East, the Environment Agency and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, together with more than 40 regional partners, on the initiative which is designed to bring future environmental and social prosperity to the Fens.

It aims to bring organisations together to ensure the region - which is at risk of both drought and flooding - can adapt successfully to the consequences of climate change, support the Government’s net zero carbon goals, and unlock a wealth of new opportunities for the area.

Ten targets have been set including an integrated water management solution, unlocking sustainable economic growth alongside nature recovery and alignment with the development arc planned between Cambridge and Oxford.

Expertise from overseas - including the Dutch who drained the Fens in the 18th and 19th Centuries - would also be sought.
Emma Howard Boyd, who chairs the Environment Agency, said: “The communities and businesses that make the Fens their home have a lot to share with, and learn from, people in the world’s low-lying landscapes. 

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“As the climate emergency accelerates in the global north as well as the south, this mutual learning and partnership becomes even more important. Steve Barclay, MP for North East Cambridgeshire, said: “We have an opportunity in the Fens to develop climate solutions which we can roll out more widely, not just across the UK, but from which the global community can also benefit.”

Anglian Water chief executive Peter Simpson, said: “Our commitment to shared international learning is key. We have been privileged to join forces at our event with the Living Deltas Research Hub, and to continue our longstanding partnership with the Dutch Government.” 

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