Investigations get underway for new reservoir in Hampshire

The exciting first steps to learn more about land earmarked for a new reservoir in Hampshire start this month.

Small drilling rigs and JCB-type excavators will arrive on Portsmouth Water’s land between Staunton Country Park and Havant Thicket, in Havant, to take soil samples and install monitors to measure underground water levels.

Portsmouth Water plans to submit a planning application to build a reservoir on the site later next year, to secure much-needed supplies for the water-stressed county.

It will also create a new, public leisure space for nearby communities and a wildlife haven with wetlands for birds.

It would be first reservoir to be built in the South East since the 1970s and is being developed in partnership with Southern Water.

Contractors will set up on the site at the end of this month and investigations on the soil and groundwater will be carried out in November and December. This will involve creating temporary boreholes and shallow excavations on the grassland. The work will avoid key areas of sensitive wildlife habitat and the wooded areas.

Bob Taylor, CEO of Portsmouth Water, said: “It’s an exciting time as we take these vital first steps on the ground to gather information to inform the design of the reservoir. While we don’t expect any disruption for local residents, we will be doing all we can to minimise the impact of the work.

“We’ll be preparing the planning application for the reservoir over the next 12 months and as we do this we’ll be talking to residents, businesses, local groups and community representatives in the local area to share ideas and gather their views.
“The South East as a whole is seriously water-stressed and while we are fortunate to have reliable supplies, building the reservoir means we can capture spare spring water to supply our customers and release water in the west of Hampshire to share with our neighbours in Southern Water’s region.

“We’re all facing the challenges of climate change and population growth, so it’s important we work together to make the best use of the water available and protect our rivers and wildlife across Hampshire.”

During the work, the footpaths and public bridleway will remain open and working hours will be restricted to between 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays. Portsmouth Water is advising people to take extra care around the site, supervise children and dogs and to keep a safe distance from the machinery.

People can find out more about the reservoir plans and share their views at and on a dedicated Facebook page @HavantReservoir.