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Active water management

A case study of Torr Works Quarry, Somerset

In 1986, Torr Works Quarry was granted planning permission to extract stone beneath the natural water table. This permission resulted in the introduction of an extensive water management scheme. Modified over the years this scheme now includes:

  • Augmentation of groundwater to 3 local streams
  • 7 stream flow monitoring weirs (covering the above streams)
  • 10 water quality monitoring points - analysed monthly
    Routine ecological studies on the three streams
  • 70 observation boreholes monitoring groundwater levels (incorporating Torr Quarry, close by Colemans Quarry and reservoir areas)
  • Monitoring of 16 licensed abstraction points, plus other points of water interest in the surrounding area.
  • Computer controlled groundwater distribution monitoring dealing with over 7,000,000m3 each year.

Construction of a 425,000,000 litre external reservoir was completed in 2003. Designed to meet the quarry’s augmentation requirements for its lifetime, it has also provided ideal habitat for numerous wildfowl including the little ringed plover.

In 2012, permission was granted to deepen the existing quarry area, releasing a further 115 million tonnes of stone. This will lower the water table by approximately 112 metres to be 3 metres above sea level.  Monitoring data collected over more than 25 years and the ability to demonstrate an effective water management scheme were key aspects in obtaining the support of the Environment Agency for this major application.

Resevoir at Torr Works Quarry

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