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Thames Water announce Las Vegas-style aquifer to be built near Horton Kirby to store water to help stressed south-east levels

Thames Water has announced a groundbreaking project to store water in underground reservoirs is to be built in a village in Dartford - following in the footsteps of Las Vegas. 

Scientists are trialling a £3.2 million scheme to store water in a 'bubble' - 250 metres below the ground - in a field near Horton Kirby.

Designed to help the water-stressed south east, drinking water will be brought to the surface when there is a drought. 

The site near Horton Kirby
The site near Horton Kirby

The technique - entitled Aquifer Storage and Recovery’ (ASR) - is already in use in desert regions across the world including the gambling city. 

Experts began drilling a new borehole at Horton Kirby in September and finished the work in January when it reached a depth of 250 metres - able to enter the Lower Greensand aquifer.

Groundwater resources manager at Thames Water, Dr Mike Jones said: "Aquifer storage isn’t the magical answer to the south-east’s water stress, as not all aquifers are suitable for this type of project.

Springett used some of his ill-gotten gains on a trip to Las Vegas
Springett used some of his ill-gotten gains on a trip to Las Vegas

"But it’s a great start and I’m confident this work will help us understand how we can best use our natural aquifer resources in the future, especially to help combat the effects of climate change."

Ed Uden, Groundwater Team Leader at the Environment Agency, said: "Thames Water, the Environment Agency and the Darent River Preservation Society (DRiPS) are all keen for this to happen, to ensure that water resources can be developed sustainably to meet demand and protect the environment."

Thames Water hydrogeologist Jamie Richies shaking hands with Alan Williams.
Thames Water hydrogeologist Jamie Richies shaking hands with Alan Williams.

While Alan Williams, chairman of the Darent River Preservation Society, added: "We have monitored this project since its inception at the Horton Kirby site. 

"Our site visit in December 2014 to the ASR 3 site demonstrated to us the progress that has been made.It certainly shows how clean water can be stored in times of plenty."

The scheme will be the most advanced in the UK when built.

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