WORK is set to start on a £20million boost for Essex water supplies.

Essex and Suffolk Water is preparing to start work on building a new 12-mile 'raw' water pipeline that will protect customers’ supplies across Essex and the environment.

The pipeline will connect the company’s water treatment works at Langford and Layer-de-la-Haye, and can move around 50 million litres of water a day, supporting supplies to 370,000 people.

It will help ensure raw water can be more easily moved between the company’s raw water reservoirs to be treated and distributed across the areas, helping to protect supplies and the environment.

Pipe-laying is due to start in February 2024 and continue into late 2024.

The project also requires advanced work to ensure the pipe installation can happen smoothly, including archeological and ecological work, hedgerow removals and delivery of materials.

The company says it will contact residents where the work is near to their homes to talk to them about the plans and how any disruption will be kept to a minimum while the "essential" project is completed.

Essex and Suffolk Water says its project team is working to minimise disruption along the route of the pipeline.

Earlier this year, the team moved early to lay the first 63m stretch of pipes between Ulting and Maldon, working with developers to co-ordinate work and avoid returning to dig up a new road surface being laid in the near future.

Project manager Daniel Wilson said: “It’s exciting that we are now close to beginning the construction phase of this project, which will add much-needed resilience to customers’ water supplies across our Essex operating areas.

“For many months, we have been working closely with landowners, Essex County Council, Maldon District Council and Colchester City Council, as well as talking to parish councils along the route, in the build-up to the start of work.

“Our team are using the experience gained from previous successful pipeline projects we have completed in the Chelmsford and Abberton areas to deliver this investment with the best possible results for customers, communities and the environment. We hope this preparatory work will help ensure a successful delivery phase in 2024.”