WORK has begun on a £1m project which will allow water supplies to be better adapted to river flows.

Yorkshire Water will lay an extra main in lower Wensleydale and install new equipment to better monitor water levels in the River Ure.

The company extracts water from the river or from Leighton reservoir, near Masham, and pumps it to the treatment works at Thornton Steward, near Ripon, from where it goes into the supply to homes and businesses.

The additional main will mean that water levels can be monitored remotely and more extracted from the reservoir when the river flow decreases, and vice versa when the river is in flood.

Much of the construction work will be on private land, but contractors from Costain will also work where the main crosses the road at Moor Lane and Longdike Lane, near Thornton Steward.

Project manager Peter Riggall said: "Naturally, there may be some disruption but we certainly hope we can keep it to a minimum. We hope to be finished by early spring, but the benefits should last generations."

The scheme should not affect existing water supplies in the area and access to homes in the area should not be necessary.

The companies warned residents to be on their guard if strangers knock at the door claiming they need to come in. Genuine employees will carry identity cards which can be checked by calling the number on the back.