If our water usage patterns don’t change, the UK will have an ongoing water deficit of 4,000 megalitres per day by 2050. Reductions in leakage and domestic consumption are the two primary strands of water conservation targeted by Defra and the water companies, explains Groundbreaker, a provider of solutions for the water and construction industries.
Some areas of England are already restricting future development unless ‘water neutrality’ can be demonstrated. This requires both existing and new properties to reduce per capita consumption (PCC) to the extent that overall water usage levels do not increase.
Reduce leaks, design out joints on pipes and prepare for smarter meters
Recent research by Thames Water showed that 8% of households show continuous flow on a smart meter, indicating an undetected leak. This means that up to 25% of water supplied to domestic properties is wasted as leakage.
This leakage can be due to old and corroded lead supply pipes, but the majority of leaks originate from joints in the supply pipe. The House Building Federation (HBF) and Water UK have since 2014 issued best practice guidelines. Of the five prinicples, four relate to minimising use and leakage.
Surface-mounted meter housings can be used in traditional building projects and are an ideal solution for modern methods of construction. In this case the meter housing can be pre-installed along with all the internal plumbing systems, and then connected to the mains supply via and continuous, uninterrupted length of pipe. Meeting all the HBFs Best Practice Guidelines.
An early adopter of the surface-mounted meter housing is Portsmouth Water. CEO Bob Taylor explained its philosophy: “Portsmouth Water’s policy of having a single joint-free service pipe from mains connection right the way through to the wall-mounted boundary box has certainly improved confidence around the longer-term quality of these new assets from a leakage perspective.”
He said the policy also helped reduced customer-side leakage, adding that “emerging knowledge in this area is showing that this is a bigger challenge than our previous understanding indicated.”
Steve Leigh, Managing Director, Groundbreaker, and developer of the wall-mounted boundary box has over 40 years’ experience in the Water Industry. “We’ve been putting pipes in holes in the ground to protect them from frost for decades”, he said. “Although it works, today’s new materials allow for a much better solution. Keeping pipes on the surface reduces the risk of leaks developing and allows for easy repair and maintenance. It’s just a much better method of working.”
A fit-and-forget solution
‘Over supply’ of water (i.e. water flow rates that are higher than required to provide an adequate supply), results in the waste of water. Running taps when brushing teeth, showering, or rinsing cups uses more water than necessary.
Approximately 40% of domestic water usage is from bathroom and kitchen taps and showers. ‘Eco’ or water saving shower heads designed to restrict the water flow to a single outlet are highly effective but fitting these comes at a price, especially in larger properties with multiple bathrooms.
The alternative is whole-site flow reduction. Fitting a device such as Groundbreaker’s NRv2 LoFlo®, at the meter regulates the level of flow entering customer premises – regardless of network pressure. As the flow of water into the premises is limited, the amount used in ‘time-controlled’ activities is also limited – but without providing a degradation of service, and more importantly not requiring any intervention or behavioural change on the part of the customer, leading to ‘natural’ reduction in consumption.
For further information on the full range of Groundbreaker products visit www.groundbreaker.co.uk