Celebrating 30 years of protecting River Dee drinking water

Monday 19th February

A partnership that looks after the River Dee to make sure it provides drinking water to millions of people every day is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

The Deepol group, set up in in the wake of a serious pollution incident, protects the River Dee’s drinking water abstractions and carefully monitors its major catchments in England and Wales.

Deepol brings together Dee Valley Water, United Utilities, Welsh Water, Natural Resources Wales and the Environment Agency to ensure close partnership work.

Oliver Twydell, Water Quality Improvement Lead at Dee Valley Water and Chair of the Dee Steering Committee explains: “The three water companies abstract around 843Ml a day from the River Dee to supply more than 2.5 million customers in North East Wales, Merseyside and South Cheshire.

“This is a huge operation that requires careful planning and management. Over the last 30 years, the partnership has been very successful in identifying and dealing with any reports of pollution that could pose a risk to drinking water abstractions."

The partnership was set up following the 1984 pollution event where phenol contaminated water was abstracted from the river.

Today, Natural Resources Wales Deepol officers assess initial reports of pollution in the River Dee catchment and advise the water companies on suitable monitoring and response plans to deal with any issues as they arise.

Oliver added: “We’re delighted to be celebrating 30 years of working together to protect drinking water supplies in the River Dee catchment and we believe that it’s by working in partnership that the number of pollution events which could potentially impact on abstraction is half of what it was when the scheme started.

“We’re looking ahead and working more closely together on catchment management schemes to provide local people with reliable water supplies for the future and protect the natural resource that the river provides.”