Construction work has begun on Severn Trent’s £300m Birmingham Resilience Project as main contractor Barhale hosted an official groundbreaking ceremony.
Carol Bloor, from Severn Trent, said: “This project is the biggest engineering challenge we have ever done and we’re investing around £300m.
“As part of the project, Severn Trent will be building a new water intake and pumping station near Lickhill, and laying a new water pipeline for 25km from there to Frankley in Birmingham.”
For over a century, most of Birmingham’s water has flowed down the Elan Valley Aqueduct (EVA) from reservoirs in the Welsh hills.
The aqueduct is over a hundred years old and needs maintenance to keep it in service, which means draining it for extended periods.
The Birmingham Resilience Project will provide an alternative source of water during those maintenance periods and will be used for up to 50 days every other year.
It will also provide a solution in the event of an emergency scenario such as an unplanned shutdown of the EVA.
The water would be transferred via a 25 kilometre long pipeline from a new river intake at Lickhill, just north of Stourport, to Frankley Water Treatment Works in Birmingham, which is itself being upgraded to accommodate the new source of water.