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The charity making life better by water

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Harthill Reservoir Upgrade

We are investing around £12 million to upgrade Harthill Reservoir in South Yorkshire.

Q&A Update: May 2024

Wide angle photo of a works site with lots of dirt in the ground

1: Could you bring us up to date with the aims of this development, and do you have an expected month in mind for completion?

Harthill Reservoir was constructed more than 200 years ago to supply water to the Chesterfield Canal. Our charity has been carrying out an important project to upgrade the reservoir, ensuring that it remains available and more resilient to the effects of climate change. We are working hard to complete the project by the end of summer 2024 (weather conditions permitting) and will continue to post updates are posted on this webpage.

2: The project was scheduled to complete by winter 2023 / spring 2024. What are the primary factors in the delay?

The project has been delayed, in part, by successive storms and heavy rainfall from autumn 2023, restricting the use of heavy machinery and access inside the reservoir. Changes to the design and the construction programme, as informed by our onsite investigations, have also contributed to the extension of this project.

3: Have the delays added to the initial projected costs of £5 million for the project?

While the initial project estimates were around £5 million, the design and construction programmes changed, with the costs reforecast at £9.5 million. We have encountered rising costs for the project (energy, fuel, materials and construction costs) and the highest levels of inflation in over 40 years, exacerbated by delays from extreme weather conditions with current costs around £12 million.

4: When will full footpath access be available for the public?

We are aiming to install the pedestrian footbridge over the spillway at the end of May. The footpath will be reopened at the end of summer, once the construction works are completed.

5: What is happening with the fish stocks? Are re-homed fish being, or due to be, returned?

Once the reservoir is re-filled we will restock the reservoir in the winter months. The fish stocks in the top section of the reservoir will remain as they are now (with a large stock of carp bream and tench).

Update: February 2024

Following a sustained period of storms and extreme weather conditions (since autumn 2023) the completion date is now anticipated to be summer 2024. The team are working hard to mitigate further delays.

We are continuing to carefully manage water levels in the reservoir, with fish rescues carried out at both the middle and lower ponds. The planning application for the fishing platforms is progressing.

Update: November 2023

The newly upgraded Harthill Reservoir spillway has been serving its purpose well during the heavy rainfall from recent storms. We’re continuing to closely monitor water levels in the reservoir and carry out ‘fish rescues’ as required (as raised water levels have caused small numbers of fish in the top pond to transfer into the bottom pond).

An amended planning application for the fishing platforms is being submitted this month.

The team are working hard to complete the project by the end of March 2024, although prolonged periods of heavy rainfall and recent storms are likely to impact this. Updates will be posted on this webpage.

For any enquiries relating to the project, please contact our team on freephone: 0800 028 8141 or email: [email protected] For emergency / out of hours assistance (including requests for ‘fish rescues’) please contact Canal & River Trust: 0303 040 4040

Update: 23 October 2023

Our engineers and contractors have been working hard to manage the Harthill Reservoir site safely during Storm Babet. The newly upgraded reservoir spillway has been serving its purpose well.

We are aware that the deluge of water brought about by Storm Babet has caused fish from the top pool to transfer into the bottom pool. We continuing to closely monitor the site and will be lowering water levels in the reservoir over the next few days and will carry out a fish rescue as necessary.

Should anyone have enquiries relating to the site, please contact our team on [email protected]

Update: 3 August

From Friday 7 July 2023 to Thursday 3 August 2023 we ran a consultation on the proposal to build 15 fishing platforms around Harthill Reservoir. This consultation has now closed. Thank you to everybody who shared their feedback. We are considering all the feedback that was submitted during the consultation ahead of submitting a planning application to the Local Planning Authority.

Update: 5 July

We are pleased to share our plan to build 15 modern fishing platforms around Harthill reservoir. These platforms will be for both day-to-day use and competitive fishing by anglers, and will enhance the fishing experience at the reservoir.

The new dedicated fishing platforms will help to preserve the reservoir by minimising damage to its stonework and sides, protecting the reservoir and ensuring it can be enjoyed by everyone for years to come.

The image below shows where the platforms will be located around the reservoir. They will replace the existing fishing platforms, which are no longer fit for purpose. The new platforms will be constructed with three different levels to cope with fluctuating water levels in the reservoir, as shown in the image below.

Harthill fishing platforms

We are speaking to the Environment Agency and will be conducting a full investigation to understand how this incident occurred. Initial reports indicate that the fish had been channelled out of the reservoir in water being drained from the manmade structure so that statutory engineering works can be completed.

The project

Harthill Reservoir, situated between Sheffield and Worksop near to the village of Harthill, was constructed more than 200 years ago to supply water to the Chesterfield Canal, located approximately two miles to the north.

From time to time we need to upgrade and improve the canal infrastructure to present day standards. In December 2020 we announced plans to upgrade Harthill Reservoir by redesigning the overflow spillway to increase the resilience of the reservoir.

Since then, our team has been working hard to develop and assess the design of a new weir and overflow spillway.

Our proposals

In January 2022 we shared more information on our proposals for Harthill Reservoir. We gathered feedback on these proposals through a public consultation.

The video below, which was shared as part of our recent consultation, explains more about the works we are planning to deliver. The presentation information is available to download here.

Update January 2023

Archaeological surveys are now complete and construction work is now underway. While the footpath across the dam is closed for safety, please follow the onsite signage and use the other footpaths around the reservoir. We will reopen the footpath at the earliest opportunity. We are looking to carry out the removal and relocation of the fish from the reservoir (via a fish rescue) as soon as possible, subject to appropriate weather conditions.

We anticipate that construction programme will be completed by winter 2023. The programme has been extended due to protracted land purchase process. Please keep an eye out for information signs around the reservoir and latest updates will be posted on this webpage.

Keeping in touch

In the meantime, you can contact our team with any further questions or comments by:

Emailing: [email protected]

Calling (Freephone): 0800 028 8141

Last Edited: 16 May 2024

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