United Utilities - Haweswater Aqueduct

United Utilities - Haweswater Aqueduct

Owned by United Utilities, the Haweswater Aqueduct uses gravity alone to transport some 570 million litres of water every day from Cumbria to Greater Manchester – making it one of the UK’s longest and most important water supply tunnels. Constructed in the mid 1950’s, the aqueduct is an underground concrete pipe some 2.6m in diameter and 90km long.

Following a huge amount of infrastructure planning, we recently completed the most extensive infrastructure inspection ever carried out by United Utilities. The aqueduct was drained and Manchester’s water supply was provided by other catchments over a 14 day period. Working for J Murphy & Sons/Land & Marine, the principal contractor for the project, our four two-man teams of engineers (plus three reserve engineers) worked around the clock to complete the inspections to a tight programme – logging the condition of the tunnel, and identifying any significant cracking, defects, water ingress and contamination. 
With some sections of the aqueduct up to 16km between access points, health, safety and wellbeing were of paramount importance. Hygiene was also a critical factor as the aqueduct is used to carry treated water with minimal further treatment before reaching customers’ taps. The inspection was successfully carried out within the tight two week timescale without a single accident or incident.