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Water pipeline comes on stream early to combat heatwave


United Utilities is to put part of a £300M pipeline project into action in September –  three years early – in response to this summer’s heatwave.

Part of the pipeline for a new water supply system for West Cumbria is being planned to go into service this month. It will enable United Utilities to tap into additional water supplies, on a temporary, emergency basis, to help combat low supplies caused by the this summer’s heatwave. 

From the water source near the Cumbrian coast, a new, emergency pipeline will pump the water 25km to Quarry Hill water treatment works. Part of this pipeline has been laid as part of the West Cumbria Water Supplies Project. Although the project is not due to be finished until 2022, United Utilities has decided to use a section early, as part of the emergency pipeline.

This emergency work will include 3km of extra pipework, in addition to the pipework already laid as part of the bigger project.  

United Utilities project director John Hilton said: “The dry spring and summer has meant that the usual water sources feeding Quarry Hill, such as Overwater, are running very low. We are looking at all possible solutions to minimise the environmental impact and ease the strain on these sources and that’s where the new pipeline comes in.

“We have some spare capacity at our water abstraction point on the River Derwent at Barepot and we nearly have a complete pipeline all the way to the treatment plant, so it’s a question of joining up the gaps.

“We’ve mobilised in record time and if all goes according to plan we hope to have the temporary supply system up and running by mid-September.”

The dry weather has enabled the team behind the £300M project to get around a year ahead of schedule and lay 45km of pipes this summer. Overall the West Cumbria Water Supplies project will improve water supplies into Allerdale and Copeland by linking the area to Thirlmere Reservoir. It involves the construction of 100km of new pipeline, a new treatment plant at Williamsgate, two new pumping stations and two new underground service reservoirs. The project will finish by 2022


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