‘Critical’ water line which will support 280,000 people nears completion

PUBLISHED: 12:30 23 February 2018 | UPDATED: 14:33 23 February 2018

The Bristol Water Southern Resilience Scheme. Credit: Bristol Water

The Bristol Water Southern Resilience Scheme. Credit: Bristol Water

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A ‘critical’ multi-million-pound project which will provide a secure water source to more than 280,000 people has almost been completed after 14 months.

CEO Mel Karam and head of network projects Mike Smith with two Bristol Water workers with the final piece of the pipeline. Picture: Erik SebokCEO Mel Karam and head of network projects Mike Smith with two Bristol Water workers with the final piece of the pipeline. Picture: Erik Sebok

Bristol Water’s flagship venture is ‘one of the largest’ to ever be completed and has seen 30km of pipes installed underground from Cheddar to Barrow Gurney.

The £27million Southern Resilience Scheme will not only provide an alternative source of water to hundreds of thousands of people in Weston and the surrounding area but will also support new housing developments which are planned across the area.

The scheme saw the company combat environmental, archaeological and traffic problems as it dealt with rare bat species, cave spiders, heavy traffic and even a skeleton.

As part of the scheme, three new pumps have been introduced at the Cheddar pumping station off Sharpham Road.

CEO Mel Karam and head of network projects Mike Smith with two Bristol Water workers with the final piece of the pipeline. Picture: Erik SebokCEO Mel Karam and head of network projects Mike Smith with two Bristol Water workers with the final piece of the pipeline. Picture: Erik Sebok

Chief executive officer Mel Karam said: “This is a critical project and is one of the largest we have ever concluded. It is the largest pipeline in terms of size, complexity and cost.

“It is there to benefit more than 280,000 customers right across the network by supplying additional resilience resources, which means for years to come customers can rely on secure and resilient water sources.

“If anything happens to any part of the network we will be able to supply from another part.”

The scheme saw the Strawberry Line cycle route closed and an alternate route put in place.

Inside the Cheddar pumping station. Picture: Erik SebokInside the Cheddar pumping station. Picture: Erik Sebok

Mr Smith said: “We had disruption with the roadworks along the A371 and the crossing at the A38 and it coincided with the GCSE exams so we set up a series of spotters along the A38 to bring the buses up so they would not get stuck in the long queues.”

Mr Karam added: “It was really important to us to make sure throughout the project we communicated with our customers and to make sure we consulted on and provided them with information. We were also working with the wildlife by completing the work with migration and hibernation seasons in mind, which was very interesting.”

Work began in December 2016 and, once pressure tests are carried out, will be completed in the coming weeks.

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