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Protecting our chalk streams - Proposal for a new water conditioning facility

This facility will enable Affinity Water to significantly reduce borehole water extraction from the acquifiers that feed chalk streams – unique and precious habitats – and support our commitment to restoring these rare habitats in the Chilterns and further afield. Please explore these pages and the documents available to download (see right hand side bar).

Affinity Water is committed to ending unsustainable borehole water extraction in the Chilterns and beyond and helping conserve and restore its important chalk streams, which are truly special habitats and home to an abundance of wildlife species such as water crowfoot, flag iris, mayfly, brown trout, kingfisher, otters and the nationally endangered water vole.

Chalk streams are at risk of extinction as the impacts of climate change combine with increasing demand for water from a growing population. Today many English chalk streams are dry in long stretches and do not meet the objectives set out in environmental legislation.

The Environment Agency considers chalk streams as incredibly important: “English chalk streams are considered to be one of the most precious and beautiful things in the natural world, known for their clear waters, rich wildlife and for providing a beautiful place for people to enjoy”.

As we reduce the amount of water we extract from these chalk streams, we must continue to meet demand for water within our supply area, which means we need to increase the supply of water from alternative sources.

An important part of our strategy to achieve this is to bring water down through an existing pipe network from Anglian Water’s Grafham Water reservoir, near Huntingdon. This will also require a new water conditioning facility along its route, which will condition the water, in doing so removing any discolouration acquired through its journey through the pipes, and ensuring the water tastes the same as water sourced locally in our catchment area.

The only feasible location to do this has been identified as the existing Sundon Reservoir site, located between Streatley and Upper Sundon, which has previously been operated as a water facility by Anglian Water and already has a great deal of the infrastructure we need.

Affinity Water has applied for planning permission for this water conditioning facility, adjacent to the existing underground reservoir.

You can find out more about the proposals on this website and take part in our consultation. We would very much like to hear your views.

Important works to preserve our unique local chalk streams

The Chilterns' chalk streams are so important that a special partnership project has been created to conserve them. Uniting all the organisations with an interest in the streams, the Chilterns Chalk Streams Project works with local people across the Chilterns to improve river habitats, improve access and enjoyment and promote the sustainable use of water.

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