Along with Affinity Water and Cambridge Water, where appropriate, we are developing three strategic water resource options to deliver social, environmental and economic benefits beyond public water supply resilience for the region and communities they serve.


Planning for resilience

As the largest water company in England by geographic area. We serve almost seven million customers in one of the UK's fastest growing regions, projected to grow by 175,000 homes by 2025. In terms of water, our region can be characterised by low rainfall and being home to a significant proportion of wetland sites of conservation interest. We are committed to making the east of England resilient to the risks of drought and flooding while working with others to achieve significant improvement in ecological quality.

Every five years, Anglian Water is required to produce a Water Resources Management Plan (WRMP) setting out how it will manage water supplies over a minimum of the next 25 years. The current WRMP was published in 2019. This plan considers the key challenges we face, such as climate change, environmental protection, population growth and the risk of drought, in ensuring a resilient future supply of water for our customers.


Our 2019 WRMP prioritised a demand-management approach to ensuring a resilient supply of water. This includes measures such as installing smart meters, reducing leakage and promoting household water efficiency. However, we must also acknowledge that at some point significant new infrastructure (such as reservoirs) may be required to ensure we continue to supply enough water to meet our customers’ needs.  


The scale and complexity of this potential new infrastructure means that long lead-in times would be required before it could be built. We have to be planning for these solutions ahead of time, for them to be 'construction ready' should they be needed. This forward-looking approach to uncertain requirements is referred to as adaptive planning.  We are now planning for schemes that may be required for delivery between 2025 and 2035.


Strategic solutions 

As part of this adaptive planning process, our 2019 WRMP identified a number of strategic solutions that could significantly increase future supply. These solutions include: 


  • A new reservoir in Lincolnshire: The proposed site is south-east of Sleaford, about halfway between Grantham and Boston. During times of high rainfall, river flows from the nearby River Witham and River Trent would feed the reservoir with water.
  • A new reservoir in the Fens: The proposed site is between Chatteris and March, near to Doddington, Wimblington and Manea. During times of high rainfall, river flows from the Great Ouse catchment would feed the reservoir with water.
  • The Anglian to Affinity Transfer: a proposed new piece of infrastructure that would transfer water from the Anglian Water region to supply Affinity Water customers. The transfer would source water from a new supply to be developed in the Anglian Water region, which could be the Lincolnshire Reservoir, the Fens Reservoir or a new source from the River Trent. 




To support the progression of strategic options, the Regulators Alliance for Progressing Infrastructure Development (RAPID) has been established to help accelerate the development of new water infrastructure.  It seeks to improve regulation and remove barriers to help the water sector respond to long-term water resources challenges. RAPID is comprised of representatives from Ofwat, the Environment Agency and the Drinking Water Inspectorate. 

Development funding is available to water companies progressing strategic solutions through RAPID. A gated process has been designed to ensure the funds are spent on time and to quality standards. Water companies exploring agreed strategic solutions need to submit deliverables at each gate to demonstrate their progress.  This is in addition to any planning consents.  

Gate one reports 

The first stage of the RAPID gated process is gate one. At this stage, we had to demonstrate each strategic solution’s progress and viability. This involved setting out plans for delivering the proposed solution, including early conceptual outline designs alongside strategies for engaging stakeholders, gaining planning permission and for procuring and operating the new infrastructure.  


Gate two reports


The second stage of the RAPID process is gate two. At this stage we must provide more detail on the proposed solutions including solution design, water resource assessment, drinking water quality considerations, environmental assessment, programme and planning, solution costs and benefits, and stakeholder and customer engagement.


It’s important to note that our proposals are at an early stage. We understand the effect on those impacted by our proposals including homeowners, landowners and the nearby community. We are committed to working with everyone as these projects develop and want to hear all views on our emerging proposals.


SLR Gate two submission documents

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Fens Gate two report and annexes

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A2AT Gate two report and annexes

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