Anglian Water has outlined proposals to invest more than £800 million to build a resilient water network for the future as part of its draft water resources management plan (WRMP).

More than £500 million will fund a “strategic grid” of new pipes to move water around the region more easily, which the company claims will “significantly reduce the likelihood of severe drought restrictions in future”.

It would feature a new main pipeline running from Elsham in North Lincolnshire to South Lincolnshire, allowing millions of litres of clean, safe drinking water to be supplied every day to customers in Greater Lincolnshire, and further south if needed.

Anglian Water said nearly every county in the East of England will see multimillion pound investment and new pipeline installations to join up the region.

It is asking customers for their views on its draft WRMP, which also outlines £44 million would be invested to install and upgrade the water treatment works in Elsham so it can serve the new, larger grid.

In addition, £250 million of investment will be used to roll out “money-saving smart meters” across the region, tackle leakage and help customers become more water efficient.

The company plans to drive leakage down by a further 23 per cent by 2025 to take Anglian to a “world-leading low” level of leakage.

Anglian recently announced it will kick-start the investment programme with a £65 million investment in the next two years – paid for through a reduction in shareholder dividends.

Jean Spencer, Anglian Water’s director for growth and resilience said: “Ensuring we have enough fresh water for the future is the biggest challenge we face. Our draft plan sets out how we make the best use of the water we already have but also what measures we need to put in place now to become more resilient to severe drought and the impacts of climate change in the future.

“Resilient, secure water resources are vital to communities, businesses and the environment alike, which is why we want our customers to have their say to ensure that our plans reflect their priorities.”

Spencer added: “How we manage the water we have available now and in the future is really important.  We already put less water into supply today than in 1989, despite a 34 per cent increase in the number of properties we serve. That’s because we’ve tackled leakage, and helped our customers become more water efficient.

“One thing is certain, we will always need water. Continuing to manage the demand in the future will only be possible by working with our customers on being even more water wise, stopping more leaks than ever before, and thinking about how the water industry can work more collaboratively in the future. That’s what our ambitious WRMP focusses on.”

Anglian’s consultation runs until 1 June.

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