Cambridge Water to support the UK’s largest water recycling system

Cambridge Water to support the UK’s largest water recycling system

Cambridge Water  signed a landmark agreement with the University of Cambridge today (8  October 2015) to support the UK’s largest water recycling system at its North West Cambridge Development.

The agreement will see two water supplies installed on the 150-hectare site – one which recycles rain and surface water to use for flushing toilets, clothes washing and garden watering, and another supplying high quality treated water for drinking, cooking and bathing.

Both are designed to minimise potable water consumption on the development site which will include 3000 homes, 2000 post-graduate student rooms, a supermarket, hotel and primary school, as well as other community facilities including a community centre, supermarket and shops.

The East of England has the lowest rainfall in the country and is described officially as semi-arid.

When the water recycling technologies are used in conjunction with high efficiency water fittings, such as aerated showerheads and taps, the development should reduce average potable water consumption down to 80 litres per person per day, almost half of the UK average.  The agreement is a vital part of delivering the Sustainable Urban Drainage System across for the 150-hectare site, which will enable the University to meet its ambitious sustainability targets for the development, supporting the target to meet the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5.

Phil Newland, Managing Director for Cambridge Water, said: “We are delighted to be able to support the University of Cambridge in this innovative and highly sustainable development which fully embraces the need to conserve water.

“The commitment to provide the UK’s largest water recycling system will help raise awareness of the need to conserve water, and seek to encourage other developers to consider water efficiency when proposing new developments.”

Rain and surface water from the site will be collected in a series of specially designed lakes and naturally filtered through reed beds within the development. The water will then be re-filtered, sterilised by UV and dosed with chlorine, before being used for toilet flushing, clothes washing and outdoor use.

Brian Nearney, Commercial Director of the North West Cambridge Development said: “The agreement between Cambridge Water and the University is an innovative collaboration that meets the high sustainability targets for the development. The pioneering method of recycling rainwater in this region in particular is something to be proud of, given the relative water scarcity in the area.”

The new system is being project managed on the University’s behalf by Turner and Townsend and is being installed on a self-lay basis by Skanska. Cambridge Water, and one of its sister companies IWS have supported the University in supervising and designing the project. IWS will also be building the treatment plant for the recycled water. Cambridge Water will ultimately take on responsibility for the recycled water supply system, the potable water supply system and their operation.

The entire project demonstrates how, as a water company we can diversify into new and more lucrative areas including inset opportunities. This will be key as we begin to see the market open up to competition in the non-household sector.

The first phase of the North West Cambridge Development is due for completion by Spring 2017.