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News Centre > Wednesday 09 January 2019

Island's reservoirs back at healthy levels thanks to years of investment by Guernsey Water

Water storage

Following prolonged periods of dry weather in 2018, the island's reservoirs are now back up to very healthy storage levels.

Last November water storage levels across the island dropped to a low of just 72.4%, but thanks to a few heavy downpours in December, 984 megalitres of water was collected - the equivalent to almost 400 Olympic sized swimming pools - with levels now back up to 93.45%.

While rainfall in December was still 18% lower than the monthly seasonal average of the past decade (of 117.9mm) and 14% lower than the longer term climatic mean of 112.9mm, the amount of water collected actually increased.

This improved water collection is a result of Guernsey Water's 10-15 year investment in water catchment, although the majority of the work has been done in the last five years.

Screens have been installed to take out leaves, twigs, branches and other detritus that previously blocked the pipes to capture inlets preventing water from being collected (in turn it would overflow the system and drain away, to sea, as normal). This means that Guernsey Water can constantly capture water without the need for manual intervention to clear the inlets.

Mark Walker, capital delivery manager at Guernsey Water said:  "Water collection, management and storage is absolutely essential for the island.  Guernsey is fortunate to have a number of reservoirs which provide a high level of storage capacity for its population. At full capacity, we have 11 months' supply.

"This is much more than the Jersey equivalent, who only have enough for four to five months. It is also greater than most UK water companies."

Guernsey has a total capacity of 4,385 megalitres - just over 1,750 Olympic sized swimming pools - and has an average daily demand of around 12.3 megalitres a day.

Mr Walker said:  "While we are in a relatively healthy position regarding our infrastructure for capturing and storing water, it is still important to use water wisely and to report any leaks or unknown increases in water usages. 

"Guernsey Water has no other means of 'generating' potable water should that excessive situation ever arise, unlike Jersey who has the facility of the desalination plant that can be used to supplement excessive shortages.

"However through Guernsey Water's improved infrastructure we can respond rapidly to any rainfall event and increase stocks over a relatively short period when it rains."


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