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Portsmouth Water appoints Atkins for £100m strategic reservoir project

CGI of the proposed Havant Thicket reservoir in Hampshire.

Portsmouth Water has appointed Atkins as principal designer to progress Havant Thicket Reservoir, the first new reservoir to be built in the south-east since the 1970s.

The reservoir is earmarked for a 160-hectare site in Havant Thicket, Hampshire, which is owned by Portsmouth Water. At 1.6km from east to west and 0.8km from north to south, it will hold approximately 8,700 Ml of water, with a deployable output of 21 Ml/d. It will be filled in the winter from surplus yield pumped from the prolific springs in Havant. 

The entire £100m+ scheme 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 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 being progressed in collaboration with Southern Water, to enable a bulk supply to the neighbouring company’s customers and support them to meet sustainability reductions on two chalk streams, the Rivers Test and Itchen in Hampshire.

Bob Taylor, CEO of Portsmouth Water, said: “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.

“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.”

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.

Richard Whale, water market director at Atkins, said: "This is a great opportunity to redefine best practice in reservoir design. Collaboration and innovation will play an integral part in the design of the reservoir and its surrounding infrastructure, and we are already working closely with Portsmouth Water on the creation of this critical water resource for the community."

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 60m litres of water a day to Southern Water, around a quarter of its daily output.