Construction of the Ardingly Reservoir

Colin Hammond – 8th November 2005

Colin has 43 years experience as a Civil and Water Engineer engaged on projects ranging from the design of parts of Hardham Water Treatment Works near Pulborough, through WHO Water Supply Studies in Uganda and Iraq, to the construction of the new Western Jetties for HM Naval Base, Portsmouth. In April 1976 he was appointed by his firm Rolfe, Kennard and Lapworth, to act as the Engineer’s representative for the Ardingly Reservoir Contract and was the last person to leave the site at the end of 1979.

From August 2000 he has operated as an independent consultant.

To set the scene for the construction of the Ardingly Reservoir, Colin dealt briefly with the history of its inception and the requirements of the Southern Water Authority (Ardingly Reservoir) Order (1975). He then described the enabling works, which were carried out in 1975, to enable a rapid commencement of the Reservoir Contract in March 1976. A novel feature for a reservoir at this time was the withdrawal of all objections to the Scheme either just before or at the Public Enquiry in October 1974.

With regard to construction, the main subjects covered included the Dam, (with its culverts and water tower), West Hill Embankment, (to carry the new section of the Ardingly to Balcombe Road across the Reservoir), and the River Ouse Raw Water Intake and Pumping Station. The sequencing and seasonal programming of these works and the methods employed during construction were described together with the problems encountered and how they were overcome as work progressed. Reference was also made to the difficulties caused by the extreme pattern weather experienced during the Contract.

The various supplementary works, land clearance, landscaping and recreational provisions were also covered. The whole project took 3 years to complete at a cost of £2.5 Million.

The need to maintain good public relations with the local population, who were mainly the Ardingly Residents Association and the surrounding landowners was paramount.

Colin also included a general indication of the methods employed together with a few anecdotes.Slides were shown during the talk to illustrate the extent and nature of the Works.

John Harding