Plans outline design for Cambs reservoir that could become 'destination' for water sports and cycling

Artist's impression of what the reservoir in the Fens could look like
-Credit: (Image: Anglian Water)


Design options are being discussed for a new reservoir in the Cambridgeshire Fens, which is hoped to become a "exciting new visitor destination". The facility is being planned by Anglian Water in partnership with Cambridge Water.

The proposals would include walking, cycling and horse riding routes and there is potential to use the reservoir for water sports. It will be located between Chatteris and March and could supply up to 87 million litres of water a day and 250,000 homes a year.

The consultation is in its second phase following one that was held in 2022 that asked people for their views on the proposed site. This time, residents are being asked for feedback on the design and the associated water infrastructure needed to fill the reservoir.

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The plans outline five design areas to both protect wildlife and provide areas for different experiences. These include:

1. The Lagoon and Central Terrace: northwest area closest to Doddington and Wimblington

2. South West Quarter: close to Chatteris

3. Southern Hub: another area that links to Chatteris

4. South East Quarter: area closest to Ouse Washes

5. North East Quarter: area closest to Manea

Met Office projections show that the East of England will become hotter and drier in summer and wetter in winter. The water companies said demand for water will outstrip the available supply within the next decade "unless bold action is taken".

The reservoir would collect excess river water in winter and store it for use during the summer. The companies said this would "reduce the reliance on sensitive ground water sources such as chalk streams".

Geoff Darch, Head of Supply Demand at Anglian Water, said: "The proposed new reservoir in the Fens is a key part of our plans to meet regional challenges to water supply. Together with its associated water infrastructure, the reservoir will create a much-needed new water resource, whilst also presenting significant social, economic and environmental opportunities.

"We’re planning to include features that local communities would value and use. The reservoir and its associated water infrastructure could also play a role in our wider plans, working in partnership with other organisations, for the region to support agriculture, promote peat restoration, manage river flooding, and other important needs."

Natalie Akroyd, Director of Quality and Environment for Cambridge Water, added: "We are looking forward to engaging with the local community and other key stakeholders over the coming weeks to update them on our latest proposals. Through this consultation, you can help inform the decisions we make so that the reservoir can best support the region.

"The reservoir is an exciting opportunity for our region, offering more than a public water supply. We want to create an outdoor destination that local communities can be proud of, and we want to hear your thoughts on how we can achieve this."

The consultation is due to last from May 30 until August 9. You can have your say on the plans here and more information on the wider project can be found here.

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