Thames Water Exhibition focuses on New Reservoir Plans

Thames Water held two community exhibitions, one on November 10th at East Hanney War Memorial Hall and the other on November 15th at Steventon Milton Hill House, to present their plans for a new reservoir near Abingdon. These events followed the release of Thames Water’s revised draft Water Resources Management Plan in August.

The proposed reservoir was the exhibition’s primary focus. There was no mention of alternative options such as the River Severn transfer scheme, which was promoted on banners displayed around the proposed site by the Group for Action on Reservoir Development (GARD).

The proposed reservoir would have a capacity of 150 million cubic meters, an option that Thames Water had considered alongside a 100 million cubic meter capacity earlier this year. Gard have said ‘Thames Water have ignored criticisms of their draft plans and ‘doubled down’ to select an even bigger Reservoir for Abingdon‘. Thames Water say it will offer better value for money and will provide enough water to supply the Southern Water area of Hampshire.  The reservoir would take land currently used as farmland and a couple of large solar farms. A copy of the handout brochure can be found at

Representatives from Thames Water were present to answer questions. One representative indicated that the reservoir plans are being developed with the assumption that the project will proceed, but that it will still need to undergo public consultation and secure development consent in approximately 2026.

20 thoughts on “Thames Water Exhibition focuses on New Reservoir Plans

  1. Janet

    A reservoir of this size has not been buit before. If the banks should fail and crack a whole area will have to be evacuated for up to 60 days. The water is not for this area but London and the South East.

    1. Freddie Pratley

      Does not work like that Janet; we are one United Kingdom…I suspect if you were reliant on gas and electricity generated locally, this winter, you would be very, very Cold!

  2. newcomer

    I understand that, at completion, the valuation of this project will be circa £1 Billion … once TW borrow against this massive asset that’ll be a tide of dividends for their shareholders and massive bonuses for the management … game over! And, do we trust TW to maintain this pent-up tsunami? Answer: Ha Ha Ha.

    I’m almost tempted to go to one of these events to see how gullible these shysters think we are.

  3. Daniel

    Is the proposal to dump raw sewage directly in to the reservoir, or is it too use the water in the reservoir to move the sewage dumped in the rivers to Hampshire?

  4. newcomer

    The idiots running this country thought it a good idea to sell-off the services that were systemic to the running of society and the sale of the water companies was the most egregious in that each of the water companies sold were, basically, a monopoly. You live in the Thames Water area and that’s who sells you water and carts away your sewage, Nobody would have bought a water company if they’d had to build the infrastructure from scratch … they were cluless financial investors … they can’t even do successful running repairs on the infrastructure they acquired on the cheap. However, they knew they had a monopoly. and now they have no shame in asking that their customers should cough-up £Billions to pay for their neglect. Building and borrowing against this reservoir asset is just more financial smoke and mirrors. Let me assure you … the Government don’t have a plan.

    Now let’s watch the Royal Mail implode …

  5. Freddie Pratley

    Thames Water and all the other privatised monopolies should be nationalised; they are key strategic services which should be run for the benefit of those paying for the service and not by shareholders most of whom live outside the UK.
    It is ironic that the party which delivered Brexit has been complicit in handing over all our key British industries to non-British people. But then we have taken back control…how easily we are fooled and the rich will be keeping a close eye on their Thames Water shares!

  6. Ian

    I seem to remember reading (I may be wrong!) that this kind of project counts as ‘state infrastructure’ (therefore is tax payer funded) so it is not up to Thames water to finance. So therefore, loads more water means not having to fix leaks, which they would pay for. So great for the shareholders!

  7. Badger

    Thames Water has a number of shareholders, Canadian pensions group OMERS, the Universities Superannuation scheme, BT pension scheme, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the China Investment Corporation and the Kuwait Investment Authority.

    My suggestion to them is that they fix their leaks first and then put the reservoir to a local referendum, any move before that will be strongly opposed.

  8. Ab Ithel

    I’m neutral on the reservoir but whenever it’s discussed, the ‘fix the leaks’ first shout is raised. Understandable maybe, but digging up whole streets by the dozen wouldn’t be that popular while in the end you can be sure the huge cost will eventually have to be paid by the customers. It’s worth making the point that leaks surely are not that bad since the water goes back into the ground and will end up in the rivers to be reused. Thus not completely lost, though admittedly it may be rather inefficient to lose too much treated water,

  9. Daniel

    Another pov may be that;

    this land is clearly eyeballed for “something”.

    It’s is GOING to get developed whether we like it or not.

    So with that in mind, what is the least worst option?

    Garden city/housing

    It’s going to get developed anyway so perhaps a reservoir is the least worst idea?

  10. newcomer

    Interesting exercise in options there, Daniel.

    A reservoir might look the least worst option, but you qualify that with ‘a reservoir built by Thames Water’, and I think I’d hang fire until a leopard licks off its spots. This is a company which can’t meet it’s maintenance/environmental/health standards, though it is an excellent exporter in that it’s very good at off-shoring its profits.

    There’s already an Abingdon Airfiield (aka Dalton Barracks). Didcot is Warehouse Central and, admittedly, the A34 has plenty of capacity for convoys of lorries. A Garden City … there ain’t enough bricks left in Oxfordshire.

    Perhaps The Flat Earth Society could take over this area as its headquarters, … My God! What a Genius Solution!

    1. Badger

      I think you’ll find the airfield is already earmarked as an ideal development space for garden city once the Army vacate it.

  11. Iain

    Whilst I agree that all the water companies, not just TW, should be doing better on leaks (and sewage releases – Thames smelled rank when I walked down bank last week) I suspect there is still a need for more reservoir capacity and it has to go somewhere.

    What I’m most disappointed with is the move between the original plans which were about creating an attractive civic facility (landscaping, watersports, nature, etc) but what is now being proposed is a cheap water store, with no real offering for our community as the hosts. Personally I think they need to do more to get my support.

  12. newcomer

    If there’s a need for reservoirs to meet an inceasing demand for water then, perhaps, the Government should pay for and own reservoirs thereby having a controlling (aka monopolising) Public interest in an increasing demand for thiis essential commodity. The price at which these wanabee Water Company Monopolies could buy water from UK Cenral Reservoir Control would be a formula based on the price the water companies charge for their services and allowances for water and sewage investments, etc, plus, say, a return of 0.5% on capital for them. This might read a little harshly, but TW’s Chinese shareholders will, at least, admire the approach. We could monopolise the monopoliser.

    Lord Cameron must not be allowed to negotiate this deal.

    In addition, (there’s even more!), we could even offer the Water Companies tax exemptions and modest bonuses against infrastructure repair maintenance costs..

    Wow, I’m on fire tonight, but I’ll hold back on my plans for the complete restructuring of the Royal Mail, that’s an absolute doozy (in a positive sense)

  13. Kris

    I don’t trust Thames Water as far as I would be able to throw them. They cannot run things well as they are currently, they cannot be trusted on sewage and as their ultimate goal is to make a profit, something which is anti-environmental and anti-human, it will thus involve them cost cutting anything they do (and then the contractors on the job will cut costs on their materials again and do anything they can to make more money). Imagine the effects on cost-cutting to those huge reservoir embankments holding back so much water? We are the ones at risk of being washed away in a biblical flood if such a failure occurs. We see cost-cutting going on in tower block builds, using cheaper cladding, we see cost cutting going on with house building, and it’s happened on all PFI funded public building, so don’t expect for a second that it doesn’t occur elsewhere.

    Going forwards with climate change it’s clear that the UK’s climate and weather patterns will only get more erratic, we might have some very dry years, but we’ll also get some very wet ones. Bouts of very heavy rain may cause strain on such a big reservoir, and there’d be risk of flooding from displaced water.

    Also it will take many years to actually finish building this huge reservoir – are we confident that costs won’t balloon as they did with HS2 and that we will actually get a reservoir at the end of it, or will it all get called off halfway through and seen as a ginormous waste of money? Wouldn’t it be practical and quicker to build a number of smaller more localised water reserves rather than one huge gigantic one?

    I do understand that something else – probably thousands of houses – will go there instead of a reservoir if one isn’t built, but my lack of trust in Thames Water is just far too great to stomach the thought of them building it frankly!

  14. newcomer

    I’m with you on most of that Kris. As far as the current issue is concerned I don’t have a scintilla of trust in TW. In fact, a ‘scintilla’ would grossly overstate the minute trace of trust I have in that busted-flush of a company.


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