Water Industry News

Residents Worried About Impact Of Desalination Plant

Local residents in the Fawley area in Hampshire have expressed concerns over the potential impact a new desalination plant in the area could have.


The Advertiser & Times reported that the local community is opposed to the £600 million scheme, which would see Southern Water construct a desalination plant at Ashlett Creek. If it is completed, the facility will be capable of turning 75 million litres of sea water into drinking water every day.


A 25km pipeline in nearby Testwood would also need to be constructed to allow the plant to operate, the news provider explained.


Southern Water has stated that the new desalination plant is needed in order to guard against water shortages caused by drought and climate change.


However, many local residents are unhappy about the plans and are fighting against the proposals. Speaking to the news provider, Robin Pearce, who lives near the proposed site, said that many local people had not been consulted by Southern Water about the plans, despite the company admitting the plant would likely cause some disruption to local communities.


“It is the most expensive, non-environmentally friendly way to produce water,” he asserted, adding, “Desalination is a very energy hungry process with a high carbon footprint up to 15 times more than alternatives.”


Mr Pearce also pointed out that the proposed site is within the New Forest National Park and will take up “alternative natural green space for the Fawley Waterside residential development”.


There are worries among local residents about noise, as well as disruption during construction, not to mention concerns about how it could impact marine environments due to the large water intake pipes and brine discharge.


A petition launched to oppose the plans stated that residents believe the £600 million earmarked for the scheme would be better spent “on improving the collection and storage of our rainwater […] and fixing leaks”.


The public consultation into the plans is still ongoing, and is taking place online due to the pandemic. The closing date for the consultation period is 16 April 2021.


However, the challenge that politicians and water companies face is that the UK could experience severe water shortages within just 20 years if changes are not made to the current infrastructure.


Last year Edie.net shared a report from the Public Accounts Committee, which revealed that around one-fifth of the volume of water used each day in the UK is lost to leakage, and that this proportion has not fallen in the past two decades.


The committee noted that part of the issue is that water companies and the government have failed to engage with households and businesses to help them reduce their water usage.


One of the many other recommendations made by the report is for the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) to publish annual league tables ranking water companies on their efforts to tackle the problem of leaks, based on their own targets.


If you want to do your part and reduce the water usage at your organisation, get in touch with us today to arrange a water audit survey for your business.