Anglian Water upgrades storm water storage for Ely
09 September 2021
Anglian Water is starting work on 13th September to upgrade the storm tank at their Ely water recycling centre.
The scheme marks a £380,000 investment, as part of a larger programme of work totalling over £100 million across the region, to install new storm water storage at 110 water recycling sites.
The work is targeted specifically at increasing resilience across the region, which is likely to see the impacts of a changing climate – like drought and flooding – more keenly than anywhere else in the UK. It forms part of the company’s Water Industry National Environment Programme (WINEP) between 2020-2025.
The project at Ely will be completed by the end of the year, and will see the capacity of storm tank increase by nearly 60%. This additional volume will allow the tank to hold more storm water during extreme weather and flooding, so it can then be treated before being returned to nearby water courses.
Being able to store excess water in this way means it will help reduce the risk of flooding to homes and businesses but will also provide additional protection to rivers, many of which in the East of England are unique chalk stream habitats.
Head of Environmental Quality for Anglian Water, Dr Lucinda Gilfoyle said: “Last winter was one of the wettest on record in our region, with higher groundwater levels than we’ve ever seen before with more rainfall in December and January than the last 100 years. River flows were above 300% of their long-term average in some areas, and our sewers handled four billion more litres of wastewater per day in January 2021 than in January 2020.
“As a result of climate change, we can expect more bouts of extreme weather, sudden downpours and rising sea levels. The East of England is also the lowest and flattest part of the UK which means gravity helps us far less than elsewhere to assist flow through catchments. Water stays where it falls and flows. Not only this, but we have a rapidly growing population meaning our region is expected to grow by 175,000 homes in the next five years. More homes mean more hard, impermeable surfaces and therefore an additional risk of flooding.
“All of these factors mean that we need resilient infrastructure that can rise to the challenge and help us protect the environment at the same time. Being able to store excess water on our sites means that less ends up in our rivers, seas and some of the unique habitats in our region.”
Anglian’s WINEP totals over £800 million of work which is specifically targeted at protecting the environment and improving river water quality. It is the largest WINEP plan of any water company, with double the number of commitments made and delivered in the previous five-year period.