Felixstowe Peninsula Project

The concept behind this project was to utilise the water within Internal Drainage Board drained areas (the lower part of the catchment) in a positive way rather than pumping it out to the estuary. The water would be used by single or multiple users, improving water supplies either for public water supplies, irrigation or environmental enhancements.

Studies indicated the most likely site for trialling this concept was on the south side of the river – the Felixstowe Peninsula, where there is a currently unmet demand for additional water supplies from both Anglian Water and local farmers. Using data from Cranfield University, it appears there is a cost beneficial case for construction of additional pipework and reservoirs and known local demand for irrigation water. Anglian Water, through the Water Resources East project supporting its future water resource planning has been supporting the development of the concept and could be interested in utilising any water not needed by irrigators.

One of the key drivers for the project revolves around the refurbishment and possible relocation of the Internal Drainage Board’s (IDB) King’s Fleet pump. There are existing pumps at Falkenham and King’s Fleet that need refurbishment/relocation as they are causing environmental damage to the internationally protected saltmarsh habitat. More details of the outline of the proposed project, as originally conceived, can be viewed by accessing the Felixstowe Peninsula Project Proposal.

Click here to view a map illustrating the IDB catchment under consideration.

The first stage of the project was to assess the amount of water that would be available for use. The amount of water going out through the pumps was monitored over a twelve-month period and modelling undertaken to extrapolate how much water could be available for use in an average and in dry years.

In discussion with landowners we have established the total and likely seasonal demand for new water and likely on-farm storage capacity. Several landowners have indicated a willingness to construct further reservoirs on farm if additional water could be made available.

Data are very promising, suggesting there is adequate water available to satisfy demand in most years. For more information click here to view the Kingsfleet & Falkenham Water Availability Modelling Presentation. Quality monitoring has indicated that water in the Falkenham pump area may be too saline to be of use, but the quality at the King’s Fleet pump is generally fine. The initial stage of the project will therefore concentrate only on the King’s Fleet catchment.

We have also undertaken some bird surveys to aid Natural England’s advice on how much fresh water needs to continue to flow into the estuary to support the wading birds (the reason for the estuary’s international designation). Water to satisfy this requirement can be made available from the Felixstowe Golf course area.

Thanks to financial support from Anglian Water and Suffolk County Council, consultants Mott MacDonald undertook an options study, using the available data. Two key options were tested: a large collective reservoir (probably in the King’s Fleet area) with limited on farm storage or a small collective reservoir, possibly the King’s Fleet itself or the Delph, with the majority of storage on farm. An intermediate option was also considered but not modelled.

Following discussions about the initial report it was clear that a large collective reservoir was not a viable option, due to environmental, landscape and cost considerations. Thus, the option of using the King’s Fleet or Delph (pump sump) were further investigated, ruling out the use of the King’s Fleet as likely fluctuations in water levels would be unacceptable to the Angling Club. It has, therefore, been decided to utilise the pump sump behind the pumping station as a holding area for the water prior to pumping it onto farms.

Mott Macdonald also modelled the optimum pipeline route from the pump/collective reservoir to the landowners’ boundaries. Costs for the pipework and necessary pumps gave an initial indication of the cost of available water to landowners. The initial costs looked rather high, but further refinement of the pipeline route and utilising agricultural standard pipes has shown the cost of water to the landowner makes this a viable project.

The reports from all these studies and notes, from the associated meetings to discuss them and decide on the preferred option, are available on the left of this page under Meetings and Papers.

Discussions with water users have suggested that most likely business model would be for Internal Drainage Board to act as the managing body. Using examples from around the world we are now developing a formal proposal for a governance structure that would allow the IDB to make the capital investment in the shared pumps and pipework and sell the water to users in a fair and equitable manner, and at a competitive price. Interested landowners and East Suffolk Water Abstractors Group (ESWAG) are working closely to develop this governance model and take the project forward to construction. It is hoped that the pipelines/pumps will be installed and functioning by the end of 2018.

 Sub Group Leads:

Giles Bloomfield, East Suffolk Internal Drainage Board - Email: giles@wlma.org.uk 
Tim Darby, East Suffolk Water Abstractors Group - Email: eswag@tiscali.co.uk