Southern Resilience Scheme

The new pipeline is operational! 

Reinstatement work is still ongoing in many areas.

Strawberry Line: We removed the diversion from the Strawberry Line on Friday 25th May. We still have some work to do on the lighting within the tunnel.

For more updates, visit the updated Southern Resilience Scheme news page.

An Overview

The Southern Resilience Scheme is a new, £27 million water infrastructure project that provides improved security of supply to over 280,000 customers across our supply area including Weston-super-Mare, Cheddar, Burnham and the southern part of Bristol. This gives us increased flexibility and allows us to move water from our northern sources into our southern region in the event of a loss of supply, or water back up to Bristol if we lose our northern supply.

The population of Somerset and North Somerset is expected to grow by over 100,000 people by 2030, making it one of Europe’s fastest growing areas. This new pipeline will help the area keep in water with this massive increase in demand. Bristol Water will also be able to get water to areas such as Cheddar, Banwell, Burnham and Weston-super-Mare through more than one route.

This video shows the scale of the project with a fly over of the new pipeline.

We considered more than 50 different routes for the pipeline with the final one proving the best value for money for our customers as well as having the lowest environmental impact. Laying a main through the Mendip Hills limited the routes we could take; therefore, our route involves laying along parts of the Strawberry Line. This route gives us a massive benefit of being able to gravitate – that is move water without pumping – from Barrow Gurney to Cheddar. This dramatically reduces the energy used, lowering the environmental impact.

The Strawberry Line Cycleway is affected in two areas: between Holwell Lane in Cheddar and Sharpham Road in Axbridge and along the Winscombe area of the path. At both sections, the line has been diverted. The diversion is fully signposted along temporary paths. Once we have finished the pipeline will be fully buried, so you won’t notice any lasting impact apart from the improvements to the pathway that we are making.

We always aim to leave our sites in a better environmental position than at the start. To do this we have designed a Biodiversity Index Score system which was trialled at a few schemes between 2010 and 2015, including the construction of the Millmarsh Reservoir near Frome. The scheme won a Green Apple Award in 2015 for environmental best practice. The system looks at the biodiversity of the site at the beginning of the project and applies positive actions that improve that biodiversity. This can be done by planting of new grasses or by installing habitats for insects, bats or even reptiles.

Two new pipelines

Cheddar main: stretching between Cheddar Treatment Works and Banwell Riverside at a length of approximately 11km.

Barrow main: Stretching between our Barrow Treatment Works (Bristol) and Sandford at a length of approximately 19.2km.

The pipeline compromises a combination of plastic and ductile iron pipeline materials and has been laid mostly using an open cut laying method where a trench was dug. Directional drilling was used where it was not possible to excavate a trench.

New pumping station at Cheddar

A pumping station is an integral part of our water supply network. It is essentially a building, housing our pumps and equipment used to move water around the network. Without pumping stations we could not move water around and get it to your homes.

Our existing pumping station on the site of the current treatment works have been upgraded to cope with the new pipeline being put in. The new pumping station pumps are capable of pumping 44 Ml/d from the Cheddar Treatment Works to Barrow Treatment Works.

Disruption during construction

Unfortunately, some disruption has been unavoidable. No customers experienced any planned interruptions to their water supply during this work but traffic delays were factors at various times during our work. The route and all traffic management arrangements throughout the project were agreed with the relevant Council’s Highway department.

Environmental considerations

Traffic impact, ecological, geotechnical and archaeological studies have been carried out to investigate the likely social and environmental impacts of the works area. The results have helped shape the route and the working methods we used. We have followed environmental best practice to ensure that the impacts on wildlife have been minimised during construction, and we will continue to monitor any impact.

The new works have been subject to our environmental strategy for engineering works and biodiversity enhancements will be carried out wherever a practicable opportunity has been identified. We completed a similar engineering project in late 2014 at Millmarsh in Somerset, where a new storage reservoir was constructed in former agricultural land. At Millmarsh, biodiversity enhancement included creation of a turf roof for the reservoir with a special wildflower mix; creation of new habitat for invertebrates and mammals; hard-engineered hibernation and habitat areas for reptiles; new tree planting; and erection of specialist nesting boxes for owls, woodland birds and bats.

We will be doing something similar at a number of locations along the route of this new pipeline.