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Bewl Water Upgrade Scheme

We’re spending over £30 million to upgrade our reservoir at Bewl. This will keep the reservoir safe and protect against the effects of climate change.

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Our reservoir at Bewl is the largest stretch of open water in the South East of England.  It’s a key source of drinking water for East Sussex and Kent, with the capacity to hold more than 31,000 million litres of water – enough to provide an average day’s usage to almost 200 million people.

Why are we working at Bewl?

Like all other reservoirs in the UK, Bewl is inspected regularly and we constantly carry out improvements when needed.  This makes sure that the reservoir is safe and working as it should.

What are we doing now?

This project will allow us to reduce the water level of the reservoir more quickly if needed.  There are many reasons why we might need to do this, for example to reduce high water levels during exceptionally high rainfall or carry out repair works to the dam.

For more information, please view our leaflet.

Where will we be working?

We’ll be working at the northern end of the reservoir, installing three large hydraulic siphons.  These will be able to ‘draw down’ water from the reservoir to lower its level by one metre per day, if needed.

When will this work take place?

Works began in April 2023 and will take around 76 weeks to complete.  We’ll be working from 07:00 to 18:00, Monday to Friday and are currently not planning to work at night, at the weekend or during public holidays.

When will the work be finished?

We plan to have completed construction and mechanical and electrical works by the end of Summer 2024. This will be followed by a period of commissioning and testing, with the project scheduled to be fully complete by the end of 2024 (subject to change due to weather conditions and other external factors).

Questions you may have

We’re working closely with Bewl Water to limit any disruption to local residents, visitors and businesses that operate there.

Our work will limit the use of the footpath along the crest of the dam, as well part of the ‘lower level’ Sussex Border Path. There’ll be temporary closures of both footpaths during construction, however, we’ll try to keep at least one of them open at all times. Any diversion will be clearly signposted in advance. There will also be some localised closures and/or diversions during working hours, if we need to lift any large equipment. Once the project is complete, the Sussex Border Path will be permanently diverted around the new siphon system.

Further Details

If you have any questions, call us on 0330 303 0368 and give us the reference number 795000.  You can also email us at bewlupgrade@cmdp-jv.co.uk.