TWO Bolton reservoirs have been declared “water safeguard zones” by utility bosses because of fears over falling water quality in the surrounding area.

United Utilities took the action amid concerns that water supplies leading to Wayoh and Entwistle reservoirs, near Edgworth, were worsening, with pollutants, algae and discolouration among the possible problems.

The area is one of 38 across the North West which have now been designated “water safeguard zones” because local rivers, reservoirs and boreholes are getting worse.

The firm is due to host a series of events inviting companies and landowners to come together and help identify any underlying problems.

The company said that although customers’ tap water is not affected, if the problems are not tackled it could mean that water from the reservoirs — which supply 40 per cent of Bolton’s drinking water — will need to be treated with increasingly expensive and environmentally- unfriendly chemicals to make it fit to drink.

Catchment strategy manager Kate Snow, who monitors water quality for United Utilities, said: “In some cases this deterioration has been happening over decades as the result of practices which are long established.

“Practices like draining bogs, done to provide improvement to grazing land in the past, we now know are not good for water quality, biodiversity or the environment.”

Safeguard zones can be established in any drinking water protected area which yields more than ten thousand litres of water a day for consumption, and where raw water quality has got worse over time as a result of human activity.

She added: “This designation isn’t saying why the problem is occurring or who is responsible, but it acknowledges that there is one. Working with the Environment Agency, we want to bring local people together to ask them what they think is causing the problem and think about what could be done."