Birmingham is to get a fresh source of water for the first time in over 100 years - more than a century after the Elan Valley reservoir was built in the Welsh Hills to supply the city.
Severn Trent Water has announced a 21st century multi-million pound scheme to construct a water pipeline linking an abstraction site on the River Severn near Stourport to Frankley Treatment Works.
The new supply project, to be completed by March 2020, has been approved to enable investment and improvement work to be carried out at the Elan Valley Aqueduct which is showing signs of deterioration.
Simon Hinsley, Severn Trent Water's resilience manager, said: "This investment is really important and will make sure there's a constant supply of fresh water to Birmingham.
"The Elan Valley Aqueduct has been a reliable source of water for Birmingham and the surrounding communities for over 100 years. Although it's still serving us well, our regular checks are showing some signs of ageing.
"We'd like to invest and improve it now so that we can continue to provide our customers with a reliable water supply for many years to come. Doing it now will also mean we don't have to spend more money in the future on repairs and maintenance.
"If we don't start the work now it may begin to impact on our customers' supplies. The extra supply pipe we'll be creating will also help us in dealing with any emergencies in the future.
"For example if there was a burst pipe, we would have a back up supply to help us keep our customers' supplies on. The new supply will work when the aqueduct is off line for maintenance."
The Elan Valley scheme was built between 1893 and 1906 for Birmingham Corporation and officially opened by King Edward V11 in 1904.
In common with other industrial cities in Britain in the late 19th century, Birmingham had come under increasing pressure to provide adequate water supplies for its expanding workforce of around 650,000. Local water supplies were inadequate and often polluted, resulting in typhoid and cholera epidemics.
In the hunt for alternative sources, Severn Trent has investigated 22 possible places along the River Severn between Trimpley and Ombersley in Worcestershire, looking at issues including water availability, visual impact, ecological impact, power supplies and access requirements.
The company said it was currently in favour of a site near Stourport-on-Severn and was aiming to put in a planning application in December. Severn Trent said it was currently looking to only take water from the river for 40 days a year.
The plans have been submitted to regulator OFWAT which is holding a number of information events around the region and is urging people to get in touch.
The company warned the change could see differences in the water hardness which could affect businesses.