Serving the communities of Bures St Mary and Bures Hamlet

Denver - Abberton Water Transfer Scheme
January 2011



Work is starting to enlarge Abberton Reservoir to help safeguard
future water supplies in Essex.

Known as the Wormingford to Abberton Tranfer Scheme

Does this project have anything to do with Bures or Mount Bures - Yes

After 17 years of investigation, assessment and consultation, work to enlarge Essex & Suffolk Water’s reservoir near Colchester by 58 per cent is getting underway.

In addition to the enhancement of Abberton Reservoir, the Abberton Scheme also includes the installation of two large raw water pipelines, one from Kirtling Green to Wixoe in Suffolk and the other from Wormingford to Abberton Reservoir. Essex & Suffolk Water is investing £150 million on the complete Scheme, which will help ensure a secure water supply to one and half million people in Essex.

Essex is one of the driest county in the UK, receiving on average less than 600mm of rain a year. In a dry year, Essex already has a shortage of water compared with demand. This is predicted to rise even further, almost entirely due to a significant increase in population in the area.

The enlarged reservoir will hold an additional 15 billion litres of water and will be fully operational by 2014. The water level of the reservoir is being raised by three metres and its footprint is increasing by 40 per cent. As well as providing a vital new water resource the enlarged reservoir has been designed to provide benefits for the local community and wildlife.

During dry conditions, no additional water is available within Essex to supply the county. Essex has relied on transfers of water from the Ely Ouse in Norfolk to fill its reservoirs since the 1970s, particularly during dry periods.

The Environment Agency currently transfers water from Denver in Norfolk to Essex when it is needed to fill Abberton and Hanningfield reservoirs via the Ely Ouse to Essex Transfer Scheme (EOETS). Under the scheme, surplus water which would otherwise flow to the Wash, is transferred to Essex.

<<<< DENVER on the River Ouse

Download the brochure published by ESW

Scheme Name

It was orignallly known as the Wormingford to Abberton Transfer Scheme
However after consulation, the Pumping Station was moved half a mile west to Staunch Farm, which had far better access facilities.

This placed the project in the Parish of Mount Bures.. The publicity literature was never updated

Due to current pumping and storage constraints, Essex & Suffolk Water cannot always fully utilise water when it is available in the River Stour. The enlarged reservoir and the additional intake from the River Stour at Wormingford will provide the opportunity to abstract and store additional water from the River Stour during high flow conditions which usually occur during the winter.

Transferring the water to Abberton
Water is currently brought from Norfolk to Abberton and Hanningfield reservoirs through a number of large pipelines and by using rivers.

In order to transfer additional water to Abberton Reservoir, the existing transfer system needs to be improved.

The plan is to lay two underground pipelines, one from Kirtling Green in Suffolk to Wixoe on the Essex/Suffolk border where the additional water will be put into the River Stour. An additional pumping station will be provided near Wormingford, Essex, where water will be abstracted from the River Stour and transferred via a second new pipeline to Abberton Reservoir.
The pipeline from Wormingford to Abberton will be approximately 16km long, carrying a pipe 1200mm in diameter.
It is proposed to abstracted over an 18-month period (commencing 1 April each year) 100,000 million litres of water.

Download the route map from Bures to Abberton

Information courtesy of Essex and Suffolk Water.


There is no access to the River via Staunch Farm and its access road from the B1508. This is Private Property.

Landscaped Break Tank


The location of the extraction pump will be on the Essex side of the River Stour along B1508 out of Bures, just before you reach the bottom of Wormingford Hill.

A pipeline from the Pumping Station will then run across the fields, over Lodge (Wormingford) Hill and cross the main road (B1508) near to the "Crown PH".

This will continue to a "Break Pressure Tank" just along the Fordham Road on the left. This has been fenced of for the last couple of years, waiting for the work to start on this section of the pipeline in January 2011.

The "Break Tank" is located at the highest point of the route, water will be pumped from the River Stour to the tank. From the tank it will flow the remainder of the route by gravity.

Information courtesy of Essex and Suffolk Water.


The contract for supplying the pipes was awarded to FT Pipelines.

FT Pipeline Systems and FT Ductile have been working together in supplying pipe to a major water scheme in the South East of England since April 2010. The Abberton Reservoir Enhancement Scheme (Essex & Suffolk Water), involves increasing the capacity of the existing reservoir by raising the level of the water. This is necessary to meet increased demands for water over the coming years. The FT Group has recently supplied a range of pipe diameters and materials including ductile iron and steel pipe, fittings and associated pipeline products.

The reservoir enhancement project involves rerouting 600mm, 900mm, 1000mm and 1200mm diameter pipelines (totalling nearly 4kms), and the associated works for several new pumping stations. Welded steel pipe has been chosen for the main pipe runs to remove the requirement for thrust blocks and to allow an epoxy internal lining to be used. Cement mortar was not a consideration because of tiger mussel infestation. External coating is the standard 3 layer polyethylene offered on all our systems.

A further consideration of the specification was the safety issues surrounding man access of pipes. FTPS is able to provide a solution through their E Joint technology. This allows the welding process to be completed without damaging the internal lining, thereby removing the need to access the pipe.
Acknowledgment to http://www.waterbriefing.org

The pipes and specials for the Abberton reservoir raising project were supplied by FT pipeline systems, the pipes were manufactured in Turkey by Erciyas utilising the ‘E joint’, the specials ( bends/elbows/inspection hatches etc) were manufactured in France.

"E Joint" technology explanation:-

The pipes for the Wormingford to Abberton pipeline were manufactured in Spain by "STS" and utilise a double welded joint.

The specials are manufactured by Freeflow in the UK

The pipes from Spain are shipped to Felixstowe Dock in loads of 140. Eight ship loads, would be required to cover the 16km pipeline

Information courtesy of Essex and Suffolk Water.

Lorries then deliver them to Farrans Depots along the pipeline route.
The pipes are 4ft (1200mm) wide x 48ft (14.97m) in length.

This calculates to 67 pipes per Km or 110 per mile
The delivery lorry can only carry 4 at a time - this means a minimum of 267 lorry journeys to cover the 16km length of the works.

The pipeline will have a capacity of 145 Ml (145.000.000 Litres) per day, this is the max higher transfer rate possible as their is insufficientt capacity in the upper reaches of the Stour
This is equavalent to 32 million galls /day


(this only details the work from the River Stour to the Break Pressure Tank at the top of Wormingford Hill)

January 2011
Wormingford – Abberton Pipeline
Farrans have now established their management offices at Layer Water Treatment Works and activity is commencing with the fencing of the working area and clearance of vegetation. Teams will begin at Wormingford and work south along the pipeline route. The topsoil stripping team will follow and pipe deliveries are programmed to start before the end of January. Work will also begin on the establishment of working compounds at Wormingford and on the Halstead Road at Eight Ash Green. Pipelaying activities are scheduled to commence at Wormingford in early February 2011

January 2011:-
Topsoil removed ready for pipelaying
Birmingham University(Archaeological Group)carried out a detailed study of the route at the base of Lodge Hill looking for any archaeological evidence. Apart from small pieces of flint and other minor objects, nothing of importance was found so as to jeopardise the planned route.

February 2011

Wormingford – Abberton Pipeline
Before work starts to lay the pipeline a number of enabling activities need to be completed. These works are progressing well with fencing of the working area, clearance of vegetation and topsoil stripping now complete along 12km of the pipeline route. Pipe deliveries began in the middle of February starting at Wormingford and moving south along the pipeline route. During week commencing 28th February pipe laying activities will begin along with works at the main construction compound on the A1124 Halstead Road at Eight Ash Green. During March the final few kilometers of topsoil stripping, vegetation clearance and fencing will be completed and the main construction compound at Eight Ash Green will come into full use.

Pipe laying will start from the River Stour in Wormingford moving south to the Break Tank site in Wormingford village. This will involve crossing Main Road in Wormingford. Temporary traffic control will be in place in this area from 14th March for 1 week. Pipe laying will also start at the southern end of the pipeline, just south of Layer de la Haye, and work north. Access to the working area will be from the B1026, opposite the Reservoir Enlargement works compound.

Feb 21st:- Pipes arrive at the northern end of the pipeline

March 7th:- Welding of pipes at the Wormingford end commences.
4 to 5 joints per day are completed.

March 12th:- First pipes across the fields to Lodge Hills buried. Unfortunately it looks as though the water table is filling the trenches making the welding impossible. See photo.
Large pumps are attempting to remove the water.
Even the Welding Gantry has submerged into the water and mud See photo

April 25th:- The concreting stage of the Break Pressure Tank along the Fordham Rd complete.
This is simply a concrete box half buried in the ground and half above ground, which will be covered in soil and grassed over, so will appear like a grass mound when finished. see photo

July 15th:- Commencing work on the Staunch Farm Pumping Station adjacent to the River Stour

September 6th:- Week commencing 5th September will see UK Power Networks on site to install the power supply to the Wormingford Pumping station site. Works at Wormingford Break Tank continue throughout September with the installation of site pipe work, followed by construction of the embankments to the tank.
The entire 16Km of pipework is now in the ground.

October - Fields around Wormingford and Forham restored back to agricultural use

December - Pressure Tank, Forham Road now with covered with soil embankment, waiting landscaping.


March - Pressure Tank earthworks seeded with grass

March/April/May - work in progress on the Pumping Station building adjacent to the River Stour

Intake of water direct from the Stour.

Water is fed into a lower chamber inside the building, where its filtered to remove any debris from the river

It`s then fed into the high pressure pumps on the floor above before entering the main discharge pipe to the Wormingford pressure tank

High pressure water transfer pumps inside main building.
Power Room

December 1st- Pumps and pipework now delivering water from the Stour to Abberton
Test running pumps and pipework
Pumping Station nearing completion except for minor landscaping

Local Research and Images by Alan Beales
Also thanks to Louise Evans, Communications Advisor, Essex & Suffolk Water
Aerial view of pipeline work courtesy of eswater.
Works manager at Staunch Farm