South East Water builds £2 million ‘water cathedral’

South East Water is building a new underground treated water storage tank, which it likens to a cathedral because of its high columns and church-like acoustics.

The tank is part of a new service reservoir at Hindhead in Surrey, which is being constructed to improve water supplies in the area.

Once operational, it will increase the amount of water that can be stored at the site – up to five million litres in total and will serve 12,500 customers in the surrounding area.

Apart from being partially buried, it will also be surrounded by grassy embankments to minimise its visual impact.

Extensive ecological surveys and mitigation work were carried out on the site to ensure native species were protected before construction started. This involved moving a family of reptiles, with the help of a team of ecologists, to a new home on adjacent land.

The £2 million project is part of a wider £390 million investment programme by South East Water to improve its network of water mains, refurbish existing or develop new water sources, and provide high quality drinking water.

South East Water delivery manager, Joe Yip, said: “We have made excellent progress on our scheme to secure future water supplies in this area.

“The next stage is for us to fit all the necessary underground pipework on site, then fill the reservoir with treated drinking water before bringing it into full operation.

“The final phase of work will be to surround the structure with grassed embankments so it blends in with its natural setting.”

The work is expected to be completed this summer.

Alison Brown

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