Frequently asked questions

Anglian Water is proposing a new reservoir in Lincolnshire that will secure water supply to our customers for future generations.

You can play an important role in helping to shape our proposals, so they best serve the needs of everyone.

Below are answers to some of the questions that have been most frequently asked during our first phase of consultation.

We have published a new artist’s impression of the reservoir – its design shows how it will integrate with the surrounding villages and farmland, providing exciting new opportunities for recreation and wildlife.

We will share an emerging design and some indicative images of what the reservoir could look like as part of our phase two consultation, which opens on 30 May 2024. More information will be available then.

View artist's impression

One of the key themes coming out of our last consultation was making sure the reservoir was designed to integrate with the surrounding villages and farmland.

Our design uses the natural shape of the existing landscape and includes features like wetlands which could encourage wildlife while also being engaging places to visit. We’ve also proposed a lagoon feature, which would maintain a consistent water level all year round for activities such as sailing and wind surfing.

We look forward to hearing what people think at the upcoming consultation.

Our second phase of public consultation is from 30 May to 25 July. We will be welcoming the valued feedback of local people and other stakeholders on our latest project proposals.

We are looking forward to updating you on a new emerging design for the reservoir.

We will also be outlining the preferred location of the associated water infrastructure needed to fill the reservoir, treat the water and distribute it to homes and businesses in the area.

Since the phase one consultation, our team has been working to develop our proposals for the reservoir site. We have taken your feedback into account, as well as the findings of our own studies and assessments of the area.

We have also been assessing options for the associated water infrastructure needed to transport water to and from the reservoir to identify options to bring to consultation.

During this time, we have continued to engage with stakeholders, including local authorities and specialist organisations, such as the Environment Agency and Historic England to gather information.

During the second phase of consultation, we will share an emerging indicative design for the reservoir.

This will show how the reservoir will work and the equipment needed on site to operate it. It will also show indicative proposals for how areas of land could be used for other features, including environmental and recreational areas. We will also share our proposals for the associated water infrastructure needed to transfer raw water from rivers, treat it, and eventually supply homes and businesses.

Yes, we will be holding drop-in events in venues close to the reservoir and key components of the associated water infrastructure.

We will also be organising pop-up events in village and town centres and places with high footfall, allowing people to find out more and engage with the project without going out of their way. We’ll share full details of these events on our website and in our printed materials when the consultation starts.

Yes. Our consultation from 30 May to 25 July will be the second phase of consultation. There will be at least one more consultation on our proposals.

The upcoming consultation will be non-statutory, meaning we are not required to undertake it under the Planning Act 2008, but have chosen to do so because of the size of the project and our desire for best practice engagement with the local community and other stakeholders.

Prior to the submission of our application, we will undertake a final, statutory consultation, following the requirements of the Planning Act 2008.

Anglian Water’s proposed new reservoir in Lincolnshire will help secure water supply to our customers for future generations.

It will store water so it’s on tap when we need it, helping us meet the challenges of a changing climate and a growing population. It will mean less water is taken from sensitive sources, helping us to protect and restore the environment.

We expect the reservoir to enable wider social, environmental and economic benefits too. Just like our existing reservoirs such as Rutland Water and Grafham Water, the new reservoir could be a valuable leisure destination. It could also support and conserve wildlife and biodiversity, and provide a variety of places for people to explore, learn and get closer to nature.

The proposed new reservoir in Lincolnshire will have a water surface area of approximately 5km² - around the size of Grafham Water - and hold 55 million cubic metres of water. It will have the potential to supply up to 166 million litres of water a day for around a half a million homes throughout the year, as well as protecting the environment by enabling a reduction in the amount of water taken from rivers and underground aquifers elsewhere in the region.

We’re in the driest region in the UK, making us particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts. This is creating greater stress on water resources with incidents of extreme weather forecast to increase.

Our region is one of the fastest growing in the country. It is estimated that there could be more than 175,000 new homes built over the next five years. By 2050, the region’s population may grow by a further million people.

To meet these challenges, we all have to play our part in balancing the needs of society, business, and the environment to enable a sustainable future.

We’re already working on new strategic pipelines to move water from wetter to drier parts of our region, installing smart meters in customers’ homes, and driving down leakage. While all the investments we’re making today will help to keep taps running, the available supply will fall well below the demand for water unless we plan for future resources now.

This proposed new reservoir has been identified as the large-scale investment in new water resources that we need and will play a critical role in securing water supply long into the future.

Reservoirs contain a volume of water that provides a level of resilience and environmental opportunities that are not provided by other resource options such as desalination or water reuse. They store excess river water from wetter winter periods, when flows are at their highest, for use in dry summers when water is more scarce.

This enables us to make the most of wet weather so that we can continue to service our customers during periods of dry weather. It also reduces the reliance on ground water sources, which in turn enables ground water recovery, such as to chalk streams.

When we looked at where we might best build reservoirs across our broader region, we identified rivers in Lincolnshire as having enough water surplus in the winter.

The proposed new reservoir will help us supply sufficient water to enable resilience to future droughts, while protecting our most sensitive environments.

It will make the most of the available resources and provide water to local communities and businesses in Lincolnshire and across our region.

We completed a multi-stage site selection process. This aimed to make sure we identified a location that would be suitable for hosting a reservoir. Through the process we also sought to minimise impacts on nearby areas and communities, and meet planning and regulatory frameworks.

Looking across a broad search area we identified a large number of potential locations and assessed their performance against a range of factors. Geology and geography play a significant role in selecting a site for a reservoir; equally we needed to exclude areas of land where the reservoir could not be located due to existing restrictions or protections. The site locations that performed best at each stage were taken forward and assessed again, in more detail, against a range of criteria. A sequential test was carried out during the third stage of our site selection process too, to prioritise locations that carried the lowest level of flood risk.

You can read full details about this process in our site selection report.

Site Selection Report

This location was found to be the most appropriate for building a new reservoir during our site selection process. On balance, it performed best across a range of the key factors we assessed. It also provides the potential opportunities to deliver wider benefits to the regional economy and neighbouring communities.

You can read more about how we made these conclusions in our site selection report.

Find out more

Yes, quality of agricultural land and potential impacts were considered in the site selection process. Given the size of the reservoir, all of the sites we have considered had the potential to affect agricultural land.

The site we’re proposing was the best performing of all the sites we have considered – one which balances all of the factors we considered, and that also provides significant opportunities to unlock wider benefits.

We are committed to supporting those affected by our proposals as the project develops. One of the ways we plan to do this is through a residential property support scheme, which could offer support to homeowners who need to sell their property before the project has consent and acquisition of property commences.

While Anglian Water is not required to do this, we think it is an important step in providing support for people most affected by our plans for the reservoir in Lincolnshire.

The residential property support scheme is being launched to coincide with our second round of consultation, which is taking place in late May 2024. We continue to be in close liaison with those who would be directly impacted by our proposals.

Read more

We completed a multi-stage site selection process (outlined in the link below) that considered a wide range of factors, including geology, engineering requirements and impacts on the community.

In total, we considered 114 potential sites around Lincolnshire and have identified the preferred site as the best performing.

Read more

The reservoir will capture excess water from rivers that would otherwise drain to the sea and store it for when it’s needed. During times of high rainfall, excess water will be collected and pumped to the reservoir via a combination of pipes, rivers and existing channels.

The water stored at the reservoir will then be treated and transferred through pipelines to Anglian Water customers.

We have been carrying out multi-stage assessments to identify the preferred options and locations for collecting water from suitable sources, transporting it to the reservoir, and then on to homes and businesses. Our proposals for this associated water infrastructure will be shared during our phase two consultation.

The reservoir is part of our long-term plan to ensure we can continue to deliver enough water to local communities and businesses across our region, including in Lincolnshire.

You can read more about our plan for managing water resources and the background to our investment in infrastructure in our Water Resources Management Plan, by clicking below.

Water resources management plan

The reservoir's capacity has been determined by the Water Resources Management Plan process. This is the process water companies follow to identify what we need to do to secure water supply for our customers long-term.

Without long-term planning, there will simply not be enough water to supply our customers in the future, despite our leadership in leakage and resilience, and decades of hard work and investment in this area already.

Anglian Water’s current Water Resources Management Plans assesses what we need to do by 2050, taking into account increasing demands due to population growth, environmental needs and the climate change challenges facing water security.

The reservoir - including its capacity - has been identified as a crucial investment that we need to make to secure supplies for the future. You can read our Water Resources Management Plan below.

Read more

The reservoir would be funded by water company customer bills, with a third-party provider likely to construct and operate it.

This funding model is common on other nationally significant infrastructure projects and Ofwat, the water industry regulator, is keen that we explore similar options for the Lincolnshire reservoir.

We will provide more detail on this as the project develops.

Due to the storage capacity of the reservoir, the project is classified as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP). This means we need to make an application to the Planning Inspectorate for a Development Consent Order (DCO). The Planning Inspectorate will issue a recommendation to the Secretary of State who will then make a final decision as to whether the project is consented. We expect to make an application in 2026, and for the Secretary of State to make a decision by 2027/2028.

The feedback we receive from local people and all our stakeholders is key to making sure we develop the reservoir to keep impacts as low as possible, and create benefits for people and nature. All feedback from our first consultation has been reviewed, recorded and is carefully being considered as we refine our proposals. This will also be the case for feedback received during future rounds of consultation.

There are some aspects that are not open to influence. That’s because they cannot be shaped for technical reasons, such as safety and engineering requirements, or because they have been and continue to be established and consulted on through other statutory processes. This includes the project’s need case and the capacity of the reservoir, which are both set by the Water Resources Management Plan process.

If consent is granted to build the reservoir, construction could begin around 2029-2031, with the expectation that it would start supplying water to customer taps by 2039-2041.

We are committed to developing the project in a way that keeps environmental impacts as low as we can, while also exploring potential opportunities to encourage nature and biodiversity.

An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) will form a key part of how we develop plans for the reservoir and the associated infrastructure. This assessment is central to the planning process we’re following.

In the coming months we will be carrying out more detailed environmental assessments on our developing proposals. The findings will be published in a Preliminary Environmental Information Report (PEIR) as part of our statutory consultation. Further environmental assessment will follow the statutory consultation as we develop our final proposals ready for application, and an Environmental Statement will accompany our application for consent.

Through these assessments we will investigate the potential environmental impacts of the proposed project, together with how we plan to mitigate these impacts.

Our existing reservoirs, such as Rutland Water, are great examples of how we could encourage biodiversity and help nature thrive.

Read more

Minimising flood risk was a central part of our site selection process and will be key to the design of any new reservoir. A sequential, risk-based assessment of flood risk was used to ensure that only sites that carried the lowest level of flood risk made the final short list of sites.

Measures will be put in place to ensure the reservoir will not increase the current risk of flooding. We also believe there are potential opportunities to explore with partners for the reservoir to improve the flood risk in the area. Our site selection report (available below) highlighted these potential opportunities for communities in Swaton and Helpringham, including the restoration of Swaton Eau and Helpringham Beck.

Our site selection report (available below) highlighted these potential opportunities for communities.

Site Selection Report

We are designing the reservoir in line with the latest industry guidance and standards, and following the legislation set out in the Reservoirs Act 1975. This includes requirements for emergency planning – such as the ability to lower a reservoir’s water level quickly (‘drawdown’) in the event of an emergency. An emergency drawdown is a highly unlikely event, but nevertheless a clear plan for managing emergency situations where this might be required is a vital part of developing projects like these.

We’re at an early stage of considering how emergency drawdown facilities might operate. Initial modelling has confirmed that discharge to the existing river network is a viable option for this, and will mitigate the already low risk of flooding to the local community.

As part of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) we will thoroughly investigate the potential environmental impacts of the emergency drawdown solution that is chosen.

How we plan for an emergency drawdown event will be consulted on during future phases of consultation.

We recognise the importance of connectivity between the settlements that surround the site. We’re at a very early stage of our proposal, and the finer details of the design will continue to evolve as we refine these plans based on further studies and consultation feedback, but we will ensure we maintain connectivity between the villages.

At this stage, it is envisaged that the Scredington to Helpringham road will be within the footprint of the reservoir. We expect to realign this road in advance of the main excavation works commencing to provide connectivity between the villages at all times. The detail and route for the new road alignment is still to be confirmed.

At this stage, we do not expect our plans to have an impact on the B1394 Helpringham to Swaton road, and we anticipate that this route will remain open during construction. If future designs require any of this route to be realigned, this would take place in advance to ensure continuity for local residents. Some traffic management may be required for short periods during construction.

We expect to be able to share further details as part of future phases of consultation.

We understand the need to minimise the potential impact of vehicle movements associated with the construction of the reservoir.

As part of our work to develop a design, we’re looking to prioritise safe and sustainable routes of access for construction traffic. We will share emerging thinking on our approach to traffic and transport during our phase two consultation. We will also develop more detailed traffic modelling plans as the proposals progress further.

We are working closely with North Kesteven District Council, South Kesteven District Council and Lincolnshire County Council to seek their input.

The potential height of the embankments against the adjacent ground level will vary around the reservoir dependent on final design. During our phase one consultation, we explained that this could be up to 25 metres in places. Embankment height and profile is being considered as part of our emerging masterplan (design) for the reservoir and we'll share more information at our phase two consultation.

Anglian Water’s leakages rates per kilometre of water main are half the industry average, despite having the biggest geographical region of any water company.

We have been working hard to reduce leakage in our network - it’s the lowest in the industry per kilometre of pipe and we’ve exceeded our targets on leakage for more than 10 years in a row.

Last year we delivered our best ever performance, surpassing the incredibly stretching target set by our regulators Ofwat, and delivering the equivalent of five years’ worth of reduction in a single year.

But we’re always looking to push it even further, and we are committed to making a 16.4 per cent reduction in leakage before 2025.

These levels of leakage haven’t been achieved before in the UK or, as far as we know, globally. While these targets are ambitious, we are confident that we can achieve them – in the last financial year we surpassed our target of a 5.4 per cent reduction, delivering a 6.1 per cent reduction by finding and fixing more than 37,000 leaks.

We are proud of our record in reducing leakage. However, our Water Resources Management Plans make it clear that alongside tackling leakage we also need to invest in the supply-side to increase the amount of water available. Our new reservoir in Lincolnshire is central to those plans.

We were pleased to share our early proposals for the reservoir with communities and stakeholders in our first phase of consultation in autumn 2022, and are grateful to everyone that provided feedback.

It was great to talk to local people and stakeholders to understand their thoughts and comments. It is clear they see great value in the environmental and recreational benefits the reservoir could bring and are excited by what it could mean for the region.

At the same time, people shared their concerns about a wide range of topics and potential effects on local communities and roads in the area. The local community also want to know what this will mean for the people whose homes, land or business may be affected by our plans.

We have now published a summary of the feedback we received during our first phase of consultation, which is available below. The feedback is now being used to inform the development of the project, ahead of a second phase of consultation in 2024.

View summary
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Get in touch

Contact the project team today.

Freephone: 0800 915 2491


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