Anglian Water marks halfway point in £100 million programme to protect the environment and decrease flood risk


Anglian Water is halfway into a two-year programme of work to install additional storm water storage at 110 of its Water Recycling Centres across the East of England.

The work totals an investment of £100 million as part of the company’s Water Industry National Environment Programme (WINEP) between 2020-2025. It 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.

Importantly, the work will also help protect the region’s much-loved environment, by preventing storm water being discharged into rivers and seas.

The new storm tanks will increase the storm water storage capacity of the Water Recycling Centres, to allow them to hold more excess water during extreme weather and flooding. It is then 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 and 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 the East of England, with higher groundwater levels than we’ve ever seen before in combination with fluvial flooding from rivers. We saw more rainfall in December and January than the last 100 years, with river flows above 300% of their long-term average in some areas. Our sewers handled four billion more litres of wastewater per day in January 2021 than in January 2020.

“We can expect more prolonged extreme weather, sudden downpours and rising sea levels as a result of a changing climate. The east is also the lowest and flattest part of the UK.  This 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.

At the end of last year, Anglian fast tracked an additional £300 million investment as part of the programme, to bring forward a further 241 schemes, all designed to improve rivers and natural environment. This investment was made without impacting customer bills.

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Anglian Water is the largest water and wastewater company in England and Wales by geographic area. We employ 5,000 people and supply water and water recycling services to more than six million customers in the east of England and Hartlepool.

Anglian Water