Posted: Friday 31st August 2018

More than 85,000 people in parts of North Ayrshire are benefiting from improved security of their water supply, and a reduction in the risk of burst mains, after Scottish Water completed the installation of a new £24m strategic water main.

The construction of a 7.3 mile-long water main south of Drybridge, near Dreghorn, to the west of Eglinton Country Park will benefit customers in Irvine, Kilwinning, Stevenston, Dreghorn, Drybridge and parts of Saltcoats for decades to come.

The new main was installed on mainly rural land from just south of Drybridge near Olympic Business Park beside the B730 to near the old Volvo vehicle plant adjacent to the A78.

It follows a route that goes under the River Irvine and the A71, runs between Springside and Dreghorn, to the east of Bourtreehill, under the Annick Water, skirts past the north and east of Perceton and Girdle Toll, and goes through the south of Eglinton Country Park.

The new main will replace an old concrete main whose route goes through more built-up areas, including the north east of Irvine and parts of Bourtreehill, Broomlands and Dreghorn, and will be decommissioned in due course

The new plastic main will be less susceptible to bursts. The route of the new main will also improve accessibility for Scottish Water to undertake maintenance work and, should the need arise, any repair work.

The project, carried out for Scottish Water by alliance partners Caledonia Water Alliance (CWA), was part of the utility's ongoing £120m investment in its water mains infrastructure which will benefit almost 220,000 people in much of Ayrshire and part of East Renfrewshire.

Commenting on the Irvine investment, Mrs Jane McKenzie, Scottish Water's communications manager, said: "Scottish Water is delighted to have completed the installation of the new water main in the Irvine area.

"We are always striving to improve the security of supply of clearer, fresher drinking water that we provide to customers 24-7 across the length and breadth of Scotland.

"This investment in the Irvine area will significantly improve the resilience of our network and reduce the potential for burst water mains and the disruption to customers they can cause.

"Our work inevitably meant some inconvenience for customers and businesses in the area but we are sure that any short-term inconvenience caused by this work will be far out-weighed by the long-term benefits our improvements will deliver."

Installing the new water main was a significant piece of construction and Scottish Water did everything possible to minimise disruption to customers, landowners, the environment and road users.

The utility carried out environmental, ecological and archaeological studies to ensure that our work did not adversely affect the areas around the main route.

Where any sensitive habitats or protected species were encountered Scottish Water managed these responsibly and under licence from Scottish Natural Heritage or the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, where required.

This included avoiding disturbing some breeding birds by temporarily stopping work in autumn 2017.

Pipe-laying work was stopped after sand martins nested on both banks of an excavation housing a dewatering system, used to drain the ground of water, on a flood plain near the Garrier Burn at Drybridge.

Sand martins are often found along rivers and other water bodies as well as man-made gravel pits where artificial nesting banks are sometimes provided.

The birds and their nests are fully protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Scottish Water also liaised closely with Eglinton Country Park during the Irvine project and ensured that plant recovery time was minimised and paths and access routes were fully reinstated quickly.

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