Downpipe disconnection, designed by the school children.

Research delivers water benefit for school

A small business spun out of Centre for Water Systems research hit the headlines with the completion of a successful project with South West Water to bring smart rainwater harvesting to a school site in Exmouth.

A 15m3 tank installed by OTA Water captures water from approximately 500m2 roof at St Josephs Catholic Primary School, Exmouth. Rainwater is pumped into the school and used to flush toilets. This puts excess rainwater to good use, replacing potable supplies, whilst simultaneously providing surface water attenuation for the town, which is famously flood-prone.

The tank is equipped with smart IOT-enabled monitoring and data collection equipment which can be remotely operated to empty the tank, for example, prior to a large storm.

As part of the project the OTA Water team also delivered workshops for six classes on sustainable water. Children designed their own downpipe rainwater features. OTA Water built four of these features to help the school learn about water sustainability into the future.

Data from the rainwater tank shows it is currently saving about 5000 litres of potable water a week.

OTA Water CEO, Dr Pete Melville-Shreeve, who completed his research under Prof David Butler, said the scale of the project marked a new step for the company.

“We’ve been successful in securing a number of pilot projects with water companies to demonstrate the opportunities our real time control technologies can offer. This latest work has been a rewarding project especially as we’ve been able to involve children – and their parents – in the concepts of sustainable water re-use and flood attenuation.”

Journalists from the BBC and local newspapers reported on the story in December at an open day where the children showed reporters the downpipe features and how the tank works.

Date: 29 January 2019

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