Rutland Water (Water Supply Case Study)

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Background: When and why built

  • Situated in the East Midlands
  • Mananged by Anglian Water
  • Filled with water from two rivers- River Welland and River Nene
  • Covers an area of 12 square kilometres
  • Finally built in the 1970's after 10 years of planning and consultation- as many people were opposed to its construction
  • Up to 270 million litres of water a day is being continuously pumped through it 
  • It was built to supply areas of the East Midlands such as Peterborough with more water, as they have rapidly growing populations
  • Distributed to around 500,000 people in 5 counties 
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Economic Impacts


  • Boosts the local economy- water is sold to areas of defecit 
  • Boosts the local economy- it is a popular tourist attraction due to its many recreational activities such as cycling and birdwatching
  • The Normanton Church Museum attracts around 300,000 visitors annually and earns around £100 million annually 


  • 6 square kilometres of land was flooded to create the resevoir. This included farmland, meaning some farmers lost their livliehoods eg. Mr and Mrs Locker of Beech Farm
  • There is now less room available for industrial/ housing developments
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Social Impacts


  • Provided lots of opportunities for recreational activities eg. cycling, birdwatching, sailing and windsurfing
  • Over 2,000 jobs were created eg. to build/maintain the resevoir, as tour guides etc. The Normanton Church Museum employs 2,312 staff
  • Educational visits are provided for schools meaning the resevoir is more likely to be maintained as children are more environmentally aware 
  • Normanton Church was saved from demolition- the floor was raised by 3 metres and a stone embankment was built to protect it from flooding, it was then made into a museum 


  • 2 villages, Nether Hambleton and Middle Hambleton were destroyed in order to build the resevoir, meaning some people were forced to relocate 
  • There was lots of social unrest prior to the resevoir being built, as so many people were opposed to it, eg. the 'Not in My Backyard' petition
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Environmental Impacts


  • The resevoir was made a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), meaning the wildlife is protected
  • 20,000 birds live there including hundreds of different species- this attracts birdwatchers
  • Waterfowl are found there as 50 acres of farmland was turned into a wetland
  • There is a variety of different habitats eg. marshes, mudflats and lagoons- so can hosue a wide range of species eg. 100,000 trout were released there
  • Ospreys, which were extinct in Britain, have been reintroduced to the resevoir through the 'Rutland Osprey Project'


  • Some habitats had to be destroyed for the resevoir to be created
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In order for Rutland water to be sustainable-

  • the water level must be kept constant- the water used has to be replaced
  • it must provide enough water today, whilst still ensuring there will be enough for the future

Management strategies:

  • A £65 million programme has been put in place to ensure sufficient pumping facilities and sufficient repair work can take place
  • The habitats are maintained to ensure wildlife continues to thrive eg. reed bed trimming 
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