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New reservoirs are ‘urgent’ and must be given the green light, government told

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The UK must push ahead with the construction of new reservoirs to secure future water supplies, the head of the National Infrastructure Commission chairman warned.

Sir John Armitt has warned the need for more reservoirs is “urgent” amid the looming threat of more drought.

The last public water supply reservoir was built in 1991. Thames Water has spent more than 15 years trying to build one in Oxfordshire, but councilors withdrew due to fears of impact on wildlife and residents.

It is situations like this where the government has to step in and give the green light to projects, Mr Armitt told The Daily Telegraph.

“The urgency is increasing and, really, if we are in a better position in 2040 to 2050, those kinds of decisions will have to be made and an agreement to certainly go through by 2025,”

“If you’re constantly failing to deliver the basic infrastructure everyone needs to live their lives, sooner or later people aren’t going to vote for you.”

The Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said more than half of England may be in drought status as a result of its driest summer in 50 years.

Devon and Cornwall, Solent and South Downs, Kent and South London, Herts and North London, East Anglia, Thames, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire, and the Eastern Midlands have already been placed in drought.

About 7,000 people in Surrey were left without water on Saturday due to “technical problems” while pipes were being replaced at Netley Mill Water Treatment Works.

The water supply is starting to return, but Councilor Liz Townsend said people were “annoyed” adding “the service is not fit for purpose”.

Lib Dem’s representative for Cranleigh and Ewhurst said: “We are no strangers to water loss. We had supply disruptions in February and July and this year alone, one village has had three disruptions. “This is happening more and more often, the services are not fit for purpose and the residents are rightly getting very annoyed.

Thames Water said engineers were identifying and unblocking air bubbles in the system to get supplies back to normal “as soon as possible”.

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