When you cleaned your teeth this morning did you give the slightest thought to where the water had come from? Well, the good news is it's local, not Pennine Hills or Scottish Spring. If you live in east Ipswich, Martlesham or Felixstowe it comes out of the Gipping at Sproughton, is pumped over the hill via Copdock to Alton Water where it is stored, then treated before being pumped over the Orwell Bridge to Rushmere. More of that story in a future Newsletter.
If you live in north Ipswich your water is pumped out of a ground source borehole at Whitton and up the hill to Park Road where it is stored in a surface reservoir (the water tower is no longer used). The reservoirs (there were three) were constructed about the turn of the last century. Two of these reservoirs (the two nearest Park Road) have been sold and the site will be used for housing. The largest (nearest Elsmere Road) is to be renovated to make it fit and clean enough for the 21st century.
Project Manager Matt Humphrey said, "The reservoir is an amazing piece of Edwardian engineering. From the outside it looks just like a large grassy bank but underneath is a huge concrete tank holding 21 million gallons of clean fresh water. It's a massive space; the roof is supported on cast iron columns rising out of the stored water."
A remote controlled CCTV camera has been inside to have a look around and now it is necessary to empty the tank and carry out a proper inspection. Water will continue to flow to your tap with a direct pumped supply.
6,000 tonnes of top soil will be removed from the top of the reservoir (and eventually replaced with gravel), the inside deep cleaned and repaired where necessary. It has been well maintained over the last century but the time has come to give it a more fundamental overhaul. Work will start on 19 September and may take up to six months, but the reservoir should then serve Ipswich residents for another 200 years.
John Norman, with contributions from Ciaran Nelson, Head of Media, Anglian Water Services.