Thursday 28 October 2010

Carsington Water

Officially opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1992, Carsington Water, 16 miles north of Derby, is the ninth largest reservoir in Britain with a capacity of 7,800 million gallons. That's enough water to keep one person supplied for 500,000 years. It's deepest point is equivalent to seven double decker busses (31m) and the surface area comparable to the area covered by 700 football pitches. It is possible to walk the perimeter of the Water on paths and tracks; a total distance of around eight miles.

The reservoir was constructed to boost the storage capacity of the East Midlands area of the Severn Trent Water Authority by 10%, and currently supplies water to three million people across three counties. It does this by drawing water from the River Derwent during times of high rainfall and returning water to the river when levels drop. The water for treatment and drinking is actually taken from the Derwent. Carsington acts as a giant regulator.

Thinking back, it seems odd to remember a time when the Reservoir was not here, but it is actually still relatively new. Its advent has made a significant impact on the area, bringing in large numbers of people who would never have come here before the Water was constructed. There is something about a body of water which draws people in.

Unlike some other reservoirs, this construction did not require the moving of any settlements; only the demolition of two farm buildings, a fact which was part of the rational for the choice of site. Oddly enough, some of the land submerged belonged to my uncle and aunt's dairy farm (though the farm itself was above the water line) and I remember helping to pull up yarrow from the pasture in preparation for the cows being moved in to graze. (Yarrow will make a cow's milk taste bitter). I always find it slightly weird to think that I have walked on land which is now submerged in so much water. 


  1. One of the things that fascinate me about reservoirs is the fact that they didn't used to be there. I look at one and I try to imagine what did the area look like before, and I wonder if it should dry out or be drained, would the area go back to how it once looked. I like your measurement for the deepest point: 7 double-deckers!

    Thanks for dropping by my blog earlier. :-)
    Su-sieee! Mac
    Take 25 to Hollister

  2. You're right - there is something about a body of water. I love to think back on how things used to be when I've been away and they've changed. :)