Temporary water transfer scheme to protect reservoir stocks in the Worth Valley

A photo of Worth Valley
General news Network and infrastructure


Yorkshire Water has begun laying a temporary water pipe over moorland to transfer water from Calderdale to the Worth Valley.

This year reservoirs in the Worth Valley have experienced the lowest rainfall on record and despite recent patches of rain, water levels are much lower than usual. With the ground remaining very dry, the reservoirs still need several months of wet weather to help them return to their usual levels.

In recent months Yorkshire Water has introduced a hosepipe ban across the region and made further efforts to reduce demand on water from Worth Valley reservoirs.

In addition to its usual leakage activity, the water company has stepped up its efforts across the region, and particularly in the Keighley and Worth Valley area. The number of leaks awaiting repair has reduced by 75% and the time taken to complete repairs is half of what it was prior to the drought. Yorkshire Water has also used its extensive grid network to bring in treated water from neighbouring areas, so that drinking water supplies are supported by water from other parts of Yorkshire.

Yorkshire Water is applying to the Environment Agency for a number of drought permits for reservoirs in North West Yorkshire – including reservoirs in the Worth Valley and further afield towards Bingley and Skipton. Currently, some reservoirs are required to provide a compensation flow, which means they release some of the water they hold into local water courses to keep them flowing. The drought permit applications would allow Yorkshire Water to protect reservoir stocks and the environment by reducing the amount of water it releases, therefore maintaining flows to water courses for as long as possible.

Deborah Feldhaus, head of water quality and production at Yorkshire Water, said: “The measures we have already introduced in the Worth Valley have helped support our reservoirs through an extremely dry spring and summer. As that dry spell continues, the reservoirs require further support. The transfer of water from our Calderdale reservoirs will be like a temporary extension of our existing network of pipes and will help to support worth valley reservoirs, which have seen the lowest rainfall in 130 years.

“The hosepipe ban we introduced in August helps to reduce water use and pressure on our reservoirs. It also allows us to apply to the Environment Agency for drought permits, which will help us protect drinking water supplies and the environment.”

Although the transfer scheme is temporary, the water company has said it will monitor the success and hasn’t ruled out implementing a permanent solution of a similar nature. It is also reviewing other schemes in the area that could provide further resilience in the water network.