Tunnelling for Birmingham’s back up water supply pipe is complete

As part of our Birmingham Resilience Project to provide a vital backup water supply for Birmingham, we've been building a new pipeline to bring water into the city from Lickhill, near Stourport, and the tunnelling is now complete. 

Gemma Hill, Programme Manager, explains: “This new pipeline is 26km long and has been in construction since February 2017.  Some parts of the pipeline needed to go underneath major roads, canals, sports clubs, and even the M5, and as we can’t dig these up, we’ve tunnelled under them.  This massively reduces the amount of disruption to our customers and to everyone in the area.”

Since launching last year, the tunnel boring machine (TBM), has created a number of huge tunnels along the new pipeline from Lickhill to Frankley as part of our £300M investment to provide a vital backup water supply for Birmingham.  This huge machine has travelled underground, all without anyone really knowing it’s there. 

Gemma continued: “It’s really exciting that the TBM has finished its journey, this is a very important part of the project as it means that all of our tunnels along the pipeline are now complete.  The TBM has been travelling underground, most recently creating the final tunnel that is 550 metres long and big enough to drive a transit van through. 

“We know that ’Brummies’ are really proud of their wonderful water, which comes from Wales and has been supplied to Birmingham via the Elan Valley Aqueduct for over 100 years.  The time has come to provide extra support for the EVA to make sure that it can continue to bring water to the city for future generations, and that’s why we’re creating this new water source.  We’ll use this new source every now and again for short periods, as it will enable our engineers to get inside and do maintenance work on the EVA.  During these maintenance periods as the City’s water will be from other parts of the region, and as water is a natural product people may notice a slight difference.  However this will mean that long term they will be able to continue enjoying  the great water from Wales.

“We’re making some real progress with our work on the Birmingham Resilience Project and we’re really thankful for everyone’s continued support and understanding whilst this work continues.”