Affinity Water will "look at ways to soften water"


Affinity Water will consult with residents over the future of water softening in Saffron Walden - Credit: Archant

Affinity Water has vowed to look into how Saffron Walden's water supply can be partially softened in the future.

The water supplier said it would launch a consultation with residents in May about the town's water supply before making a final decision on its next steps.

Affinity Water faced criticism from residents and the town council earlier this month after it stopped partially softening water at its Debden Road treatment works in January.

After the decision, residents raised concerns over limescale build up which can impact the performance and longevity of household items such as kettles, dishwashers and boilers.

Jake Rigg, Affinity Water's Director of Corporate Affairs, said: "In recognition of that we’ve partially softened the water in the past, the feedback we’ve received, and our commitment to customers, we’ve agreed that we will look at ways to partially soften the water supplied to Saffron Walden in the future.

"We’ve identified three potential ways that we would be able to look at partially softening the water and are launching a consultation with Saffron Walden residents in May to ensure we make the right decision for now and in the future."

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Affinity Water also apologised for not engaging with residents earlier about the change in water hardness.

Mr Rigg said: "We would also like to apologise for the way in which this was originally communicated, so we would like to say sorry to the community by giving a donation to a local charity or community group.

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"Saffron Walden residents will have the opportunity to tell us about the causes that matter most to them during the consultation."

Water softening ended in January 2021 after Affinity Water decided it could not renew or repair existing 18-year-old equipment at Debden Road.

But the town argued a move to stop softening water in the medium or long term runs against a 1964 agreement with the supplier to treat hard water.

Affinity Water set up a dedicated webpage for the town:

It says the new portal will help keep residents up to date with the consultation process next month.

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