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Blithfield Reservoir Technical Information


  • The reservoir covers an area of 790 acres and has a maximum capacity of 18,200 million litres of water.
  • This type of reservoir is known as an "impounding" reservoir and was created by building a dam across the nearby River Blithe, forcing water into the valley alongside.
  • At least 24 million litres of water must be released from Blithfield Reservoir every day to ensure the stability of the River Blithe downstream of the dam. This water, known as the Compensation Flow, must be released even when the country is undergoing drought conditions.
  • When there is a drought, the demands of the Compensation Flow become a problem. However, where the River Blithe meets the River Trent at Nethertown there is actually a lot more water than the river needs. So during the late 1990s, the company set up a scheme which allowed it to pump some of the water from the river at Nethertown back up to Blithfield Reservoir, recycling its own compensation flow to help to maintain a satisfactory water level. The water enters the reservoir at the south-eastern edge of the causeway and can sometimes be seen in operation if the water level in the reservoir is low enough.
  • There are three points in the reservoir from which water can be drawn: from the valve tower close to the dam; from the bottom of the reservoir; and through a pipe that extends out under the water about 100 metres from the valve tower. Using three points to draw water from minimises the impact of algae growth on the water, since algae can both discolour water and make it distasteful as well as clogging filters at the treatment works.
  • Other measures to reduce algae growth are: Destratification, where air bubbles are released into the water from near the bottom of the reservoir. This has a mixing effect on the water that lowers the average temperature of the water and reduces the exposure to sunlight, thus slowing down the growth and reproduction rate of the algae; the use of barley straw bales which gradually break down and decay, inhibiting algae growth.
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