Proposed location for new reservoir confirmed

Image of leisure activities on a reservoirThe proposed location for a new reservoir in the Cambridgeshire Fens, situated north of Chatteris near the villages of Doddington and Wimblington, has now been confirmed.

The reservoir will supply enough water for around a quarter of a million homes, 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. It will also create a new visitor destination, creating new jobs, and wider economic, environmental, leisure and health benefits for the local community.

The reservoir is being developed in partnership with Anglian Water and a formal public consultation period will begin on Wednesday (12 October).

The project forms part of the long term Water Resources Management Plans for us and for Anglian Water, and is linked to the wider regional plans led by Water Resources East. These plans look 25 years ahead, with the objective of ensuring the region is resilient to more frequent episodes of drought brought on by climate change, all while improving environmental protection.

After detailed work between our Cambridge Water team and Anglian Water, the findings of a detailed site selection study will be shared as part of the consultation beginning next week.

“This project is vital for the resilience of water resources in Cambridge, with increased stress on our water supply due to a growing population and climate change likely to cause more frequent droughts in the future.

“The reservoir will not only store and supply water, taking pressure off the aquifers and protecting our precious chalk streams, but also provide new habitats for wildlife, a new place for people to visit and enjoy, and bring economic investment for communities.”

Natalie Akroyd, Head of Water Strategy and Environment at Cambridge Water

“The East of England is a water-stressed region receiving a third less rainfall than anywhere else in the country. Climate change is applying further strain, so any new investment is required to be resilient. It is important to ensure any work being done not only creates new water supplies, and delivers environmental, social and economic benefits for our areas, but that we are also making the best use of existing water resources, continuing to reduce leakage and encourage behaviour change to reduce water use.

"The reservoir could bring a real boost in job opportunities for the region, both long-term and in the short-term construction phase, creating a variety of jobs with transferable skills. We will work with Anglian Water and Cambridge Water to consider the training required and help ensure local people have the necessary skills to fulfil those opportunities.

"I strongly welcome Anglian Water, in partnership with Cambridge Water, looking to facilitate wider benefits from the scheme for agriculture, biodiversity, leisure, local communities and the regional economy. As the consultation plans develop, it will be important for the Combined Authority to understand the full impact of the reservoir, how it will affect water supply challenges for the whole area, and the wider benefits it can yield for communities and businesses in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.”

Combined Authority Mayor, Dr Nik Johnson.

Together with a panel of expert partners our teams have been undertaking a wide range of assessments to identify potential locations for the reservoir. That includes considering impacts on people and communities, the needs of the environment, landscape, existing water sources, engineering requirements, flood protection and many other factors.

“Following a thorough and multi-stage site selection process, assessing a wide range of criteria, we have now identified the best performing location for a new reservoir.

“We know the effect on those impacted by our proposals including homeowners, landowners and the nearby community because we’ve already been speaking to those most directly affected. We wanted to give them the opportunity to ask us any questions about what this might mean for them, before publicising the information more widely. We are committed to working with everyone as the project develops and want to hear all views on our emerging proposals.

“A formal consultation process will begin on 12 October, open for 10 weeks, and we encourage communities and wider stakeholders to have their say and to help shape the development of the design of the reservoir and inform the economic, social, and environmental opportunities it could create for the local area.”

Dr Geoff Darch, Water Resources Strategy Manager for Anglian Water.

The initial consultation will run from 12 October until the 21 December. As part of this consultation a very early concept design for the reservoir has been provided to help stimulate thought and discussion.

Concept plan of the new reservoir
It shows some of the potential features we hope to include in the reservoir like wildlife areas, recreation and water sports, green infrastructure like cycleways and renewable energy, and others. This will be developed further as the project progresses taking account of feedback from the consultation.

Fens Reservoir

Find out more about the planned new reservoir

Posted: 10 October 2022