The Duke of Edinburgh will today unveil a new facility to supply water to the growing population of Bedford.
It’s also the 50th anniversary since the Duke first visited Grafham Water - which also serves Milton Keynes, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire - to officially open the reservoir in 1966.
The 1500-acre reservoir was constructed in the Sixties to meet the demand for water from the new town of Milton Keynes and the rapid expansion of Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire’s existing towns.
Drinking water travels through hundreds of kilometres of pipe across the region as far away as Milton Keynes. Anglian Water’s new £28million facility will store an additional 40million litres of treated water to secure supplies for more than a million homes and businesses in the area for decades to come.
Peter Simpson, Anglian Water’s Chief Executive, said: “We were thrilled The Duke of Edinburgh has honoured Grafham Water with a visit – not just once, but on two landmark occasions in the site’s history. And it’s fantastic to see so many of the local community – our neighbours – here to celebrate too.
“Grafham Water was a trailblazing project when it was first conceived in the Sixties. The Duke called it ‘far-sighted’ at that time, and we continue to uphold that forward looking approach today.
“As a region we face the twin challenges of population growth and the impact of climate change. As a company we have responded by building ever more resilient systems and this brand new facility just outside Perry is the latest example of that. As well as providing drinking water to millions across four counties, it’s part of a bigger jigsaw providing the essential infrastructure for sustainable growth in this important part of the country, underpinning the regional economy and ensuring this area remains a great place to live and work for generations to come.
“We’re delighted the Duke has recognised this milestone with us.”
Grafham is fundamentally a working environment and vital part of the East of England’s water infrastructure, supplying millions of litres of clean, safe drinking water to millions of customers every day, but it has also created hundreds of jobs and training opportunities, provided a hub for recreation and education, and a haven for wildlife.