Exmouth residents take part in water harvesting project

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 April 2018

Nathan Weston is taking part in a rain-water harvesting project led by South West Water

Nathan Weston is taking part in a rain-water harvesting project led by South West Water

Archant

Residents in Exmouth are playing a part in a pilot scheme to reduce the risk of flooding by participating in a rainwater harvesting project funded by South West Water (SWW).

Around 30 houses in Phillipps Avenue, Orchard Close, Green Close and Bassetts Gardens have had special water butts or underground tanks installed.

The tanks give free water to homeowners, but also provide spare capacity to hold back rainwater during storms.

Most of Exmouth’s homes are connected to a combined sewer, which takes both rainwater and waste water, says SWW.

However, too much rainwater can cause sewers to overflow. By capturing and using the water close to where it falls, the amount of rainwater entering the sewer is reduced.

College lecturer Nathan Weston (pictured), of Phillipps Avenue, had a 3,000-litre tank installed in his back garden last summer.

Mr Weston said: “I was delighted to take part. It’s great to think that we are making use of the clean rainwater from our roof to run our washing machine and flush loos, instead of it going down the drain.”

The tanks have been installed free-of-charge to homeowners as part of SWW’s Downstream Thinking programme, which is exploring sustainable approaches to drainage across the region.

SWW has also invested around £4million improving Exmouth’s sewerage network and is working with St Joseph’s Primary School to install rainwater harvesting systems.

The company’s flood risk manager, Richard Behan, said the scheme was a new way for water companies to address sewer flooding. He added: “This innovative pilot project is aimed at exploring whether we can reduce excess water entering our sewers, especially at times of high rainfall.

“Intense downpours can quickly overwhelm our sewers, and any water we can use at source is water we don’t have to pump to the sewage treatment works. We are committed to reducing the number of storm water overflows into the River Exe and this scheme will also help to protect that sensitive estuary environment.

“We’re grateful to the residents we have worked with for the positive way they have embraced the project.”

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