Category:Water Supplies

From Wightpedia

Water is the one 'utility' which has always been essential for life on the Isle of Wight.

For most of the past, water has been obtained by individual households from streams, springs or by collecting rain water. Wells were built to serve individual properties, or communities - these usually involved using a bucket to pull up the water or a pump to lift it - the Calbourne Village Pump is possibly the best preserved of village pumps on the island.

It was in the second half of the 19th century that Local Boards or groups of local businessmen established water works which collected water, stored it, and piped it to individual households.

Over the years, the private water companies were acquired by the local Authorities.

In 1951 the Isle of Wight Water Board was established and took over responsibilities for all the water undertakings on the Island which enabled an island-wide network of water mains to be established.

The last community to be supplied with main water was Roud, in 1964.

In 1965 the Island Water Board was absorbed into the Southern Water Board.

A pair of mains pipes were installed across the Solent in 1980 to help meet the Island's water requirement.

In the late 1980's the Island was used as a trial for the widespread retrospective installation of water meters into domestic properties. Over the following years over 50,000 had water meters installed, some in properties, others outside. The trial highlighted issues with shared mains etc. but was largely considered a success and resulted in billing for actual usage, rather than on the property's rateable value. The result was about a 20% reduction in water usage.

In 1989 the industry was privatised and the Board's responsibilities were taken over by Southern Water plc. In 1996 Southern Water plc was taken-over by Scottish Power, in 2002 it was sold to First Aqua Ltd (a private equity concern) who subsequently sold it on to Vivendi Environment and Royal Bank of Scotland, who in turn sold it in 2007 to the Greensands consortium of infrastructure investors and pension funds.

In the first decade of the 21st century, Southern Water replaced the two cross-Solent water mains with larger capacity mains.