Water pipe starts supplying thousands in West Cumbria from Thirlmere Reservoir instead of Ennerdale

Credit PA
The new pipeline is 62-miles long and according to United Utilities is the biggest project it has undertaken. Credit: PA

One of the region's biggest engineering projects has started to supply water to homes in parts of Cumbria.

A water pipeline has been created that links Thirlmere reservoir to a new treatment works near Cockermouth, which will supply thousands of homes and businesses.

Why is it needed?

Water supplies to West Cumbria from Ennerdale Water are being stopped at the end of this year.

This is due to environmental reasons as higher water usage and drier weather over previous years has led to low levels of water in the lake.

As a result United Utilities needed to find an alternative source of water which provides for the growing population and protects habitats.

From now on many customers in West Cumbria will be getting water from Thirlmere reservoir.

How big is this project?

It has been a long and complex operation to complete the pipeline due to the Lake District's landscape.

The new pipeline is 62-miles long and according to United Utilities, it is the biggest project the company has undertaken.

Running from Thirlmere the pipeline will travel through five tunnels to a water treatment works on the A595 near Redmain, just north of Cockermouth.

This will treat up to 80 million litres of water every day before it goes on to customers.

John Hilton from United Utilities said: "To build something like this in the Lake District we've joked about finishing off what our late Victorian ancestors started in the 1800s, and we've been able to do that through the use of technology.

"Getting 98km (60m) pipeline across the Lake District without it causing environmental disruption or disrupting tourism in the area has been a massive challenge."

Who will be affected?

Most of the homes and businesses to be supplied via the new pipe will mainly be in West Cumbria.

It this thought once up and running around 80,000 properties will receive their water from Thirlmere rather than Ennerdale.

Water supplied through the new pipe will be safe to drink and complies with regulations from the Environment Agency.

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