Scheme to improve water supply in Swaledale progressing well

Posted: Friday 20th November 2015

In April this year, Yorkshire Water started an essential scheme to ensure that over 400 of its customers in Gunnerside, Reeth, Angram and surrounding areas can continue to receive the best quality drinking water possible.

The company’s water treatment works in West Stonesdale needs to be replaced and the most effective solution is to replace it with a new clean water pipeline and two new pumping stations.

Morrison Utility Services (MUS) who are carrying out the work on behalf of the water company have so far installed more than 17km of new water pipe from Reeth, passing through Healaugh, Low Whita and Gunnerside. They still have about 3km of new pipe to lay through Angram to West Stonesdale.

Teams from MUS have also tested over 80% of the new pipeline, rebuilt stone boundary walls, completed all road and river crossings, and are well underway with building two new pumping stations at Low Whita and Thwaite.

This £4.8 million project has a number of other benefits which include providing water from a more reliable source, reducing the risk of bursts, water supply interruptions and leakage by up to 1 million litres a day.

Councillor John Blackie has been working closely with Yorkshire Water in order to minimise disruption to local residents and businesses. He commented "As the County Councillor for the Upper Dales I would like to highly commend Yorkshire Water in the way the company has gone the extra mile in minimising the inconvenience to the local communities through which the new pipeline passes whilst it is being laid in place. From initially planning a number of road closures of key roads in the Upper Dales, which would have involved long diversion often along inappropriate roads, Yorkshire Water and its partner team of construction companies responsively went back to the drawing board when challenged by myself and Nigel Smith, the local NYCC Highways Manager, and re-designed the works to avoid any road closures at all".

He added: "To be honest most of the local communities in Upper Swaledale have been blissfully unaware of this major construction work going on in their locality, as they have been able to go about their day-to-day business without any interruption at all. After a large number of road closures these last 2 years of the main road up and down Swaledale down to various essential works on the highway and preparing for the Tour De France, the sympathetic approach by Yorkshire Water has been much appreciated by all".

Part of the work in private land clashed with a footpath next to the River Swale at Rowleth End, which is between Low Row and Gunnerside. This footpath was affected during the project so Yorkshire Water and Morrison Utility Services worked with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Area Ranger for Swaledale, Michael Briggs, and donated a cheque to pay for the materials needed to put the footpath back to its original position. The footpath will need a new bridge and boardwalk and Michael will arrange for volunteers to build this.

Michael said: "This route had not been correct for a long time so this was a fantastic opportunity to put it back to where it should be. It has worked out well for all involved.

“Walkers are now using a legal route giving better views of the river, and the landowners should have no more problems with people not knowing where to go. The new boardwalk crosses a beautiful wild area, full of interest for nature fans.

"In recent times our budgets have only allowed us to maintain our Rights of Way so when the opportunity to make a real improvement arose, the generous offer was too good to decline."

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