Jersey Water is calling for a Water Strategy for Jersey within the forthcoming Island Plan and consideration of the need for additional water storage as part of its submission for the Island Plan consultation.
The Jersey Water submission supports the Company’s Water Resources and Drought Management Plan which is currently under development and due to be published in 2020. It identifies that by 2045, in severe drought years, there will be a forecast shortfall of 8 Million litres per day between the demand for water and the water available for use. The shortfall is driven principally by the effects of climate change and predicted population growth.
Jersey Water are considering a number of measures to address the shortfall both in terms of demand management, including the encouragement of water efficiency and further leakage reduction, and additional resources which may include more desalination, extension of existing reservoir storage, water recycling and the creation of new reservoir storage.
In its submission, Jersey Water is recommending that a Water Strategy should be incorporated as an explicit element of this emerging Island Plan. The Water Strategy should have as much significance as minerals, energy, waste or transport strategies, which are all incorporated into the current Island Plan. The Strategy would translate the Island’s needs for additional water resources into land-use issues which can be woven-in to the Island Plan and balanced with other infrastructure needs to provide a robust and forward looking strategic position which protects both the quantity and quality of water.
Jersey Water also recommends that the Island Plan include a review of the future of Gigoulande Quarry, in St Peter’s Valley, as a potential water storage reservoir when extraction is complete. The quarry, which is currently earmarked for inert waste landfill, is estimated to have a capacity on completion of slightly less than Val De La Mare reservoir (approximately 30% of existing water storage capacity), is well-located close to existing water infrastructure and is within a high yielding and reliable water catchment.
Helier Smith, Chief Executive of Jersey Water, said: “As an island with only 120 days of water storage when full, we are vulnerable to water shortages and drought. We need to begin work now to address the supply demand deficit identified in our Water Resources Management Plan. It is important that the Island Plan recognises this strategic issue that will have multi-generational implications. The development of a Water Strategy within the Island Plan will help us ensure that Water Resources are considered alongside all of the other issues that need to be dealt with.” “The potential repurposing of Gigoulande Quarry as a water storage reservoir, represents a unique, once in a lifetime, opportunity to secure a key piece of infrastructure for the benefit of the island that, if ignored, will never present itself again. Filling the quarry with inert waste provides a temporary solution for solid waste management; filling the quarry with water provides a permanent water resource for the island for centuries to come.”