Shropshire has an abundance of springs and many wells have been sunk down to aquifers (porous rock storing water). It is estimated that around 10,000 people in the county have a private water supply from one of those sources. In some cases, this is through personal preference but more the remote areas have no choice since there is no mains water supply. In 2011, the low rainfall meant that the water levels in aquifers fell and many wells and springs dried up. People had to fetch water from other areas and, around Clunton, some of the springs and wells failed to produce water for up to 3 months.
The main water provider in Shropshire is the Severn Trent Water Authority, which was established in 1985 when the West Shropshire Water Board and East Shropshire Water Board were privatised. It is one of 10 water authorities in England with a responsibility to supply fresh water and treat sewage for around 8 million people living in the Midlands of England and a small area of Wales. It took its name from the two major rivers in this area, the Severn and the Trent.
Although Severn Trent manages a number of reservoirs, none of these is in Shropshire. There are a few small reservoirs for private water supply but two are controlled by public organisations, ie
Chelmarsh Reservoir, Chelmarsh (SO733876)
This was built in 1963 and is operated by South Staffordshire Water to provide water for a large area of South Staffordshire and the Black Country. The water is sent via the “blue pipe” bridge over the River Severn to be treated at Hampton Loade Treatment Works, before being piped to surrounding towns in the Midlands.
Knighton Reservoir, Soudley (SJ738284)
This is operated by the Canal & River Trust to top up the Shropshire Union Canal, as well as Gailey Upper Reservoir, Gailey Lower Reservoir and Calf Heath Reservoir, all of which feed the Staffs & Worcs Canal.
Other reservoirs in private ownership include :-
Field Aston Reservoir, Chetwynd Aston (SJ759175)
Now used for angling.
Hyssington Reservoir, Hyssington (SO320942)
This is a small covered reservoir.
New Pool Hollow Reservoir, Church Stretton (SO436946)
Built in 1902 to provide water for Church Stretton and contains 12 million gallons. There is a metal water overflow tower sticking out of the water and the bottom of this is connected to a short tunnel. Now on land owned by the National Trust, it was featured in the series of books by Malcolm Saville.
Oswestry Reservoir, Oswestry (SJ270296)
Built in 1881 on the route of water from Britain's first high masonry dam at Lake Vyrnwy, along 68 miles of aqueduct to service reservoirs at Prescot, east of Liverpool. Water is filtered at the Oswestry Reservoir, which is one of several balancing reservoirs and water tanks along the route of the pipeline.
Posenhall Underground Reservoir, Broseley (SJ657017)
This is a small covered reservoir and was being offered for sale in Feb 2016.
In recent years, there has been a surge in demand for bottled spring water. This has resulted in a number of firms setting themselves up to bottle and sell spring or mineral water. In actual case, most of the firms pump water out of a well rather than tap into a surface spring. However, obtaining the water directly from the underground aquifer means that it should be free of contamination. A number of Shropshire firms are involved in this trade.
This is bottled at three locations in the UK, Montgomeryshire, Cambridgeshire and Wolverton in Shropshire. At the latter, it is bottled on their behalf by Wenlock Spring Water. It uses 70% recycled green glass bottles which are also are sourced in Shropshire. The mineral content is :-
Owned by local entrepreneur Harry Tuffins since 1955 and based in Churchstoke.
The mineral content is :-
Based in Knighton since 1991. The mineral content is :-
Based in Church Stretton since 1881. There is a good website detailing the history of the Cwm Dale Spring. The mineral content is :-
Based in Wolverton, below Wenlock Edge, since 1995. The mineral content is :-