Would the Abingdon Reservoir Solve Oxfordshire’s Drought?


22nd August 2022

Plans for an Abingdon Reservoir have been around for more than 20 years, and Thames Water remain focused on a 12km mega-reservoir project, built on farmland between 3 nearby villages with a 25-metre-high bund wall.

The reservoir will hold 150 billion litres of water intended to supply London and the Affinity Water regions of the Chilterns and Hertfordshire – not Oxfordshire.

The reservoir would be filled with water pumped from the Thames and in times of extended drought would be unable to refill due to low river flow rates. Examination of previous river flow rates show that, should the reservoir have existed, it would have been unable to be refilled for 18 months prior and during the drought experienced over the summer of 1976.

Alternative solutions exist, including water transfers from areas of the UK where there is higher rainfall, into the water stressed South-east and East Anglia regions. One such proposal is the Severn-Thames Transfer Scheme: potentially cheaper, less environmentally damaging, and quicker to build. Thames Water are currently assessing the scheme.
A review of England’s emerging regional water resources plan was published by the Government in May 2022 and you can find out more about Water Resources South East (WRSE) activity and future plans on their website.

Group Against Reservoir Development (GARD) are actively campaigning against the Abingdon Reservoir. To find out more visit the GARD website.