Abingdon reservoir's public consultation period has been extended by two years under changes to the Water Industry Act that came into effect in April.
Changes to the Act mean all water companies have to undertake full public consultation on their draft Water Resources Management Plans before they are submitted to the government for approval. The plans outline how companies will meet customer demand for their entire region for the next 25 years. They cover both demand management measures and options for supplying more water where this is needed. Major projects, such as the proposed Abingdon reservoir in Oxfordshire, will be considered in the light of what water resources may be needed for the whole Thames Water supply area. Consideration will also be given to options for meeting needs in the wider region. The move means that the period available for public consultation will be extended by two years, allowing more people to have their say on the proposals. It also means that any applications for work to begin will not be lodged until 2009 at the earliest. Thames Water's director of external affairs, Richard Aylard, said, 'Predicted population growth, climate change and increased water consumption all mean that a major new water resource will be required for our region, by about 2020. A reservoir near Abingdon remains our preferred option.'