More water from West Norfolk’s rivers will be piped to Essex

Up to a third more water will be taken from West Norfolk's river systems to fill an enlarged Essex reservoir, councillors have been told.

Essex & Suffolk Water wants to vary its abstraction licence as part of the ongoing enlargement of Abberton Reservoir, near Colchester.

It has applied to increase the amount of water it pumps from the Cut-Off Channel at Blackdyke from 79,555 million litres to 100,000 million litres per 18-month period.

In a presentation to West Norfolk Council's regeneration and environ-ment panel, officials said the amount taken daily would not increase.

They said more water would be taken out of the system during the winter, when the Ouse and its feeder rivers are carrrying extra water which would otherwise flow out to sea.


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The Environmeent Agency and Natural England are not objecting to the licence application, which also stipulates that water should not be removed from the system during the spring and summer, when there is less flow.

Work is well under way on the �152m Abberton scheme, which will increase the volume of the reservoir by 60pc by raising the height of its dam wall.

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Studies suggest the Abberton scheme will not affect important habitats along the Ouse Washes, or The Wash, its wildlife and the fishing industry.

The formal licence application will shortly be advertised, before a consultation period opens.

Water is taken from the Ouse via the Cut-Off Channel, which joins the main river at Denver Sluice, near Downham Market. The water is carried via a pipeline to reservoirs in Essex.

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