“Large-scale” water trade planned between counties

Two British water firms could share water in a rare swap of resources if the drought in the Midlands continues, it was announced today. The Midlands supplier Severn Trent Water is […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Two British water firms could share water in a rare swap of resources if the drought in the Midlands continues, it was announced today.

The Midlands supplier Severn Trent Water is in “ongoing” talks with Anglian Water to send “large-scale” supplies to the East of England.

As much as 30 million litres of raw water per day – enough to supply 100,000 homes in the Anglian Water region – could be transferred 80 miles from Birmingham to Gainsborough. Raw water is untreated and is purified by utilities before sent to homes.

Anglian Water, which serves 4.2 million homes and another 100,000 business customers, says its region has been in drought for the last 18 months, with reservoirs and groundwater levels very low after poor rainfall. It imposed a hosepipe ban on April 5th for the first time in 20 years.

A spokewoman said: “Reservoir levels are down on average by 20% and we’d expect them to be full at this time of year.”

Simon Love, head of drought response at Anglian Water said: “We are exploring a number of options to help support the drought-hit region, including the movement of water across water company boundaries.”

Anglian has traded water on a “much, much smaller scale” in the past but finding a way to “physically move the heavy water” in such large quantities could prove a challenge though, said the firm’s spokeswoman.

The scheme is being explored under the Collaborative Drought Planning Group, alongside trade body Water UK. It will need to be approved by the Environment Agency.