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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

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First glimpse of water plans

HUNDREDS of West Cumbrians have been given their first glimpse of a multi-million-pound plan to pipe in a new water supply to their homes.

Engineers from United Utilities staged a series of five exhibitions to get views on three potential routes for a new pipeline from Thirlmere reservoir, near Keswick. The proposals may also include possible locations for a new water treatment works.

More than 400 people turned out for the exhibitions staged in Whitehaven, Wigton, Cockermouth, Workington and Keswick.

United Utilities general manager John Hilton said huge interest had been shown in the new supply plans.

“People asked lots of questions about things like the background for the project, the potential for traffic disruption, drought plans and the capacity of Thirlmere reservoir,” he added.

Still in its early stages, it is claimed the project is essential to guarantee homes and businesses future water supplies.

Project delivery manager Carl Sanders said the company has to find alternative reservoirs to replace its biggest source, Ennerdale, when it is closed to them for good. Unless the company finds alternative sources, it could leave 80,000 to 140,000 people without an adequate supply.

Mr Hilton said the company will embark on surveys of the three potential routes in the next few weeks.

“This will give us more vital information to help us settle on a preferred option,” he said.

The public will still continue to have an input, with water staff visiting local interest groups.

Thirlmere, it is claimed, has all the capacity needed for the future and its environmental impact is much lower.

“It will take a couple of years before we can even apply for planning permission and it could be 2025 before everything is complete,” added Mr Sanders.

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