Bringing your water
from Thirlmere

Water quality, matters 

Since 2014, we’ve been working to complete a new water pipeline which will bring a different source of Lake District water to West Cumbria, and parts of North Cumbria for the first time.

From June 2022 onwards, we’ll be tapping into the capacity at Thirlmere reservoir to supply 80,000 homes and businesses with quality Lakeland water.

The scale of the engineering involved hasn’t been seen since Manchester Corporation built the Thirlmere and Haweswater supply schemes in the 1890s and 1930s. It has taken over 7 years and 500 engineers to construct the 62-mile long pipeline, a brand-new water treatment plant and state-of-the-art water storage facilities, all while ensuring we respect one of the UK’s most beautiful locations.

We need to be sure we’re extracting water in a sustainable way.

I’m just as interested as everyone else in what’s being done to help protect the environment as this new pipeline is built.

Glenn Mallinson,
Whole Life Programme Manager

When?

For those living in and around Workington, Whitehaven, Wigton, Gosforth, Cockermouth, Silloth, Egremont and Bootle your water will soon be coming from a great Lakeland water source, the Thirlmere reservoir.

It has taken longer than originally anticipated to complete all the final checks required to start supplying you with water from Thirlmere. We now expect to bring your water into supply in three stages starting in June 2022. We want to thank all of you for your patience and support over the past five years, while we’ve been working on this project.

Use our postcode checker to find out when your new water supply will be turned on. 

To learn more about the project please visit our virtual exhibition. 

Why?

For more than 120 years, water for 80,000 homes and businesses in and around the towns of Egremont, Cockermouth and Whitehaven has come from local sources. But this area is also home to many rare and protected species, and the risk to that precious wildlife, along with the growth of the population, means we need to find sources other than Ennerdale, Crummock and Overwater.

Ennerdale, its lake and the River Ehen, are host to protected species. It’s a very special place and we want to make sure we do our bit to keep it this way. Unless we reduce the amount of water we take from these naturally occurring water sources, we risk doing long-term damage to the wildlife that relies on them.

We worked with environmental stakeholders including the Environment Agency and Natural England and agreed to stop using Ennerdale as a source of water by the end of 2022 when our abstraction licence for Ennerdale, Crummock Water, Overwater, Chapel House reservoir and other small local sources is permanently withdrawn.

How?

Your water will be coming from a great Lakeland water source, the Thirlmere reservoir. We will not be blending the water, it will all come from Thirlmere – and it will meet all the strict water quality standards you expect.

  • Raw, untreated water will be transported down the pipeline to the new Williamsgate Water Treatment Works just off the A595 near Redmain
  • We worked hard to make sure this new site complements the landscape, even giving it a ‘living green roof’ to help it blend in
  • Now the wider network and infrastructure is complete, we’ll be able to treat up to 80 million litres of high-quality Lakeland water every day,
  • Every day we’ll test it for everything from bacteria to metals, pesticides and even taste and odour to make sure it meets our strict quality standards before sending it on through new and refurbished distribution pipes to our service reservoirs, where we’ll store it ready for delivery to you
  • Our team are working hard to return the landscape to how it was before we started. This includes replacing hedgerows, dry stone walls, fencing and gates

I’ve been working on this pipeline project every day, it’s my job. But I don’t take water for granted – as a customer, I’d want to know how we’re helping businesses and communities affected by this work

Gaynor Murphy
Head of Stakeholder Relations