FAILING equipment at the Knighton water supply works are set to be replaced.

Southern Water said a new caustic dosing kiosk, used to treat water, was urgently required to replace temporary equipment at the site before further works are carried out in the water supply chain.

In a letter to the Isle of Wight Council's planning department, Phil Jackson, Southern Water's senior town planner, said the current equipment was 'unfortunately failing.'

As a result, water supplies from Knighton site has been cut off.

In order to maintain supplies to the surrounding area, Mr Jackson said the new kiosk needed to be installed and operational by February 28.

Another supply site, in Sandown, will be out of action for 12 weeks from March while improvement works are carried out. If the Knighton works were not completed, Mr Jackson said there was a risk both sites would be unavailable at the same time.

That may mean the Knighton works commence before planning permission is granted. The deadline for comments is February 7, but Mr Jackson said the work needed to start this month.

Mr Jackson said: "Southern Water appreciates that this approach may place the planning authority in a difficult situation and is far from ideal with respect to planning requirements."

The Knighton kiosk will contain caustic dosing equipment that regulates the pH level to provide drinking water to Southern Water customers in the area.

Southern Water's operations manager for the Isle of Wight, Keith Herbert, said the temporary system currently in place was 'not a good long-term solution for delivering cost-effective and efficient services.'

He said: "These works are part of a £5 million upgrade to return a set of boreholes — where we historically took water — back into service.

"The decision to make a permanent upgrade comes after a trial which proved successful.

"Customers will experience no impact but we will be able to put an additional four million litres of drinking water a day into service from Island resources.

"This will reduce our reliance on the transfer pipeline from the mainland and improve our resilience — especially in the summer.

"If planning permission is granted, we will benefit from improved facilities for the delivery and storage of the chemicals used in the process and eliminate the need for temporary pipelines."