First phase of water mains project completed

May 17, 2013

Scottish Water has completed the first phase of Scotland’s biggest water mains renewal project to date. When completed in April 2015, it will have covered 4,300km - the distance from Edinburgh to Mali.

From Kirbister in Orkney to Penwhirn in Dumfries and Galloway, the scheme which started in April 2010 has seen 2924km of pipes upgraded to meet strict water quality standards.

Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Nicola Sturgeon, said: “The completion of the first phase of Scottish Water’s renewal and maintenance scheme highlights our on-going commitment to providing Scottish communities with high quality infrastructure.

“The extensive reach of the scheme, stretching from Shetland to the Scottish Borders, means households throughout the country are now benefiting from an enhanced water supply, while local areas have been boosted by the support of extra jobs.

“Scotland’s water quality is at its highest level ever and we are striving to improve on this through the renewal and maintenance scheme which forms part of the Scottish Government’s wider £2.5 billion water and waste services investment.”

The work is a key part of supporting development in communities in Scotland through solid infrastructure. Comprising 60 individual projects, it has also supported jobs with four key contractors involved; Morrisons in the North and Farrans, George Leslie and Barhale in the South.

Those involved have also been tested by difficult environments and unusual discoveries. The Beaker burial ground in Duns, which is believed to be 3000 years old, was unearthed by workers during this first phase of development.

The team also faced the extremely challenging Whitehillocks Water Mains Rehab Project, which required around 135,000m of upgrades to water mains in rural areas and towns, as well as the need to cross the inaccessible Rocks of Solitude ravine.

To ensure water supply was maintained at all times, 15km of additional bypass pipe was also put in place and relocated 27 times as the project progressed.

Tom Davidson, Programme Manager for the project, said: “The work has involved flushing, re-lining and replacing water mains all over Scotland to ensure optimum water quality, reduce leakage and also reduce the likelihood of burst water pipes.

“Some water mains in Scotland have been in place for decades and require upgrading to ensure they deliver maximum water quality and security of water supply. Water main networks are comparable to structures like the Forth Bridges and therefore require constant maintenance to ensure they perform as designed.

“This work will also ensure we continue to comply with standards laid down by the Drinking Water Quality Regulator.”

In addition over 13,825 properties have been removed from the low pressure register since it was devised in 2002. The number of properties is now 608 and is falling every month.

Leakage also keeps falling as a result of using cutting edge technology to find and reduce leaks - it has been reduced by 44% since 2002/03 and it continues to fall.

Water quality in Scotland is at its highest ever level - 99.88 of supplies taken from customer’s taps met the required standards in 2011 and Scottish Water is working to improve that figure even further.

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