Windermere residents invited to view water investment plans

Residents who live in and around Windermere are being invited to come and find out more about proposals to improve water quality in the lake.

United Utilities is holding a series of public drop-in events to present its plans for reducing storm water spills into Windermere.

The company is planning to make an early start on a multi-million pound package of investment at four sites around the lake: Hawkshead, Near Sawrey, Elterwater and Ambleside.

The events are taking place at 2pm-7pm each day at:

  • Monday 20 November: Hawkshead Market Hall, Hawkshead
  • Tuesday 21 November: Marchesi Centre, Windermere
  • Wednesday, 22 November: Ambleside Parish Centre, Ambleside


People will be able to find out more about the way the drainage system currently works around Windermere and what changes will be needed to reduce the risk of sewage entering the lake.

At Ambleside, Elterwater and Hawkshead United Utilities is planning to build storage tanks which together will be large enough to hold around 11 million litres of storm water – the equivalent of more than four Olympic-sized swimming pools.

While at Near Sawrey the company is developing a surface water separation scheme. This will see rainwater diverted away from the sewer network to create a Sustainable Drainage Solution (SuDS) feature in a landscaped area where it will be able to soak away into the ground naturally, freeing up capacity in the sewer network and at the local wastewater treatment plant.

Mathew Wilkinson, Regional Delivery Manager for United Utilities, explained: “The public sewer system around Windermere uses the same pipes to carry away rainwater as well as the dirty water we all flush away.  During heavy rainfall these “combined” systems sometimes fill up and then need to overflow into local watercourses or the lake itself to prevent flooding.  It is these storm water overflows we will be working to reduce.

“It is all about finding new ways to manage rainwater.  At some locations we are building or re-purposing storage tanks so that we can hold back more sewage for treatment during heavy rainfall.  At other sites we are developing natural solutions to help rainwater soak away before it gets into the sewer system or creating natural treatment systems such as reed beds.

“We’re very conscious that we will be working in the heart of the Lake District National Park so it’s important that we develop solutions that minimise any impacts to wildlife and the rich cultural heritage and spectacular landscapes of the area. We hope local people will take the opportunity to come and talk to us about our plans and share their feedback.”

The work forms part of a £1.5 billion programme of accelerated investment which United Utilities is starting over the next two years, aimed at improving the North West’s rivers, seas and lakes.