Scottish Water invests nearly £2 million to replace critical pipe at Kettleton Reservoir

29 November 2023

A vital pipeline that delivers water to thousands of homes in Dumfries and Galloway is being replaced by Scottish Water as part of a £1.8 million investment. The project, which is already underway, will ensure a continued secure and reliable water supply for the area, including parts of Dumfries and Lochmaben.


The old cast iron pipe, which takes raw water from Kettleton Reservoir to Kettleton Water Treatment Works, has reached the end of its lifespan. It is prone to bursts and leaks that could cause disruption to customers and a new 450mm pipe will replace it.


Kettleton Reservoir, built in 1939, collects water from the Kettleton Burn and supplies Kettleton Water Treatment Works. The treatment works supplies almost 4,500 properties in the region, from Tynron in the southwest to parts of Dumfries and Lochmaben to the southeast.


In order to carry out the replacement work, the pipe will have to be taken out of use for a period of time. To ensure a continuous raw water supply to the treatment works, Scottish Water has installed an overland pipe, which uses a syphon to draw the water up and over the wall of the reservoir.

image of pipe running through tunnel

Current pipe running through a tunnel beneath the reservoir

Image of the bottom of the spillway

Bottom of the spillway and end of the tunnel at Kettleton Reservoir

Colin Smith, Scottish Water’s project manager, said:


“This is a complex and challenging project from an engineering and health and safety perspective.


One of the sections of the pipe being replaced is within a tunnel below the reservoir and the dam. While working in this area we will need to control any overflow from the reservoir as this could impact on the team’s ability to safely access the pipe. To achieve this, we may need to reduce the level of water in the reservoir. At this time of year, that is no easy feat with all the rain!”


The project is being done at this time of year to reduce the risk of lowering the amount of water in the reservoir during the summer, when the demand for water and the risk of drought is higher. The reservoir will be lowered by about half a metre below the spill level, which is the level at which the water overflows the dam.


Colin continued: “The team carrying out the works will have to work through some pretty bleak conditions this winter, however, we are determined to deliver the work to ensure we can continue to provide a secure and sustainable water supply for our customers in Dumfries and Galloway.”


Scottish Water is working with its delivery partners George Leslie to deliver the project and expect the job to be complete in Spring 2024.