Water firm switches to virtual public exhibitions to showcase aqueduct plans
CAPTION: Haweswater reservoir
United Utilities has launched a fully-digital exhibition after Covid lockdown called a halt to its planned public exhibitions showcasing proposals to refurbish the Haweswater Aqueduct.
Residents living along the route of the pipeline, which runs from Cumbria, through Lancashire and into Greater Manchester, can now view all the information about this mammoth engineering project from the safety of their own homes.
The ground-breaking virtual exhibition allows viewers to see the planned route of the works and provides the opportunity to speak to the project team and share their views of the plans.
Jemma Parkinson, stakeholder manager for the Haweswater Aqueduct Resilience Programme (HARP), said: “We’re committed to working with and supporting the communities we serve and have developed a comprehensive public consultation programme.
“In March 2020 we held several public exhibitions and received some valuable feedback from these events.
“Unfortunately, social distancing guidelines, introduced as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, meant that we had to cancel the final five face-to-face exhibitions.
“We’re determined to continue with our public consultation which is why we’ve created virtual exhibitions instead.”
The company is also planning to host online video meetings with councillors, MPs and other stakeholders.
“We recognise that not everyone has access to the internet therefore hardcopy packs, which contain exactly the same information as the virtual exhibitions, will be available where needed.” added Jemma.
People will be able to view the plans at www.harpconsultation.co.uk or can call 0800 298 7040.
The Haweswater Aqueduct was built between 1933 and 1955 and has successfully supplied drinking water via gravity to 2.5 million people in Cumbria, Lancashire and Greater Manchester for more than sixty years.
When it was built, the 109km underground aqueduct was one of the biggest infrastructure projects in the country and remains the backbone of the North West’s water supply.
Inspections in 2014 and 2016 highlighted some areas of concern that posed a potential future risk to both water quality and supply. Maintenance work is being carried out to the worst affected areas, including replacing a section of the pipeline, which is due to be completed later this year.
Customers and stakeholders were given the opportunity to give their views on several proposed solutions to the issues. Independently verified research clearly indicated that the preferred solution for customers and stakeholders is the replacement of all six tunnel sections along the length of the aqueduct.
As a highly visible service provider in the North West, United Utilities does its best to be a good neighbour and work in harmony with the communities it serves.
To this end, the company will be working closely with community and stakeholder groups during the planning and construction stages of this project to make sure they are kept fully informed of progress.