Meon Valley MP Flick Drummond has said a new water pipeline to link supplies to Winchester from the new Havant Thicket reservoir will stop abstraction from rivers but will need to be carefully managed.
Flick was briefed on the plan when she visited Southern Water’s Otterbourne treatment works to meet with senior stakeholder engagement manager Sam Underwood and site manager Nik Rogers.
The waterworks near Winchester supplies 250,000 homes with water but presently it is taking 50 million litres a day from local chalk rivers and boreholes.
The utility is hoping to take less out of aquifers and rivers, if the pipeline to the new reservoir at Havant goes ahead. The reservoir is under construction but the pipeline is a separate project.
“The pipeline plan is currently in consultation and will need approval from water regulator OFWAT next year if it is to happen,” said Flick.
“In principle I support it because it will cut the amount of water Southern Water needs to take out of rivers and boreholes and this will greatly improve the health of our world famous and much cherished chalk streams.
“However, planning for the pipeline must be done carefully and with full consultation with communities along its route as it is a major project to run a pipeline across south Hampshire.”
Flick was also told local rivers are scoring more highly on ecology now than for decades and improving water security by using reservoirs would improve the situation further.
The MP added: “Southern Water is working with environmental organisations to improve our chalk streams and the government has got tough on sewage spills and this is good news, but the company has a long way to go to regain trust after years of uncontrolled discharges and fines.
“Water companies must be held to account where they fail and I will be working with the Environment Agency and OFWAT to ensure that happens.
“In the meantime, it is important to work with and support Southern Water as it makes progress while also being robust when it doesn’t do its job.”