'Trailblazing' Exmouth primary school joins water-saving crusade

PUBLISHED: 08:00 21 December 2018

St Josephs Primary school children in front of one of the water harvesting ideas. Ref exe 49 18TI 6546. Picture: Terry Ife

St Josephs Primary school children in front of one of the water harvesting ideas. Ref exe 49 18TI 6546. Picture: Terry Ife

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A rainwater collection tank has been installed at a ‘trailblazing’ Exmouth primary school as part of a £4 million flood reduction scheme.

St Josephs Primary school children with Richard Beham of South West Water and Pete Melville-Shreeve of OTA Water in front of one of the water harvesting ideas. Ref exe 49 18TI 6535. Picture: Terry IfeSt Josephs Primary school children with Richard Beham of South West Water and Pete Melville-Shreeve of OTA Water in front of one of the water harvesting ideas. Ref exe 49 18TI 6535. Picture: Terry Ife

It is hoped that a new tank which will store rainwater from the roof of St Joseph’s Primary School will halve the amount of tap water used on site and reduce the pressure on the sewerage network.

The harvested water will be treated and pumped into the toilet block at the Regents Gate school, where it will be used to flush the toilets.

The installation is part of South West Water’s (SWW) WaterShed Exmouth project, which aims to reduce the operation of stormwater overflows into the sensitive River Exe estuary as well as flooding and pollution.

SWW flood risk manager Richard Behan said: “Much of Exmouth was built on reclaimed land and it regularly suffers from flooding.

A pupil from St Josephs Primary school in front of one of the water harvesting ideas. Ref exe 49 18TI 6541. Picture: Terry IfeA pupil from St Josephs Primary school in front of one of the water harvesting ideas. Ref exe 49 18TI 6541. Picture: Terry Ife

“The pioneering pilot project builds on the work we have done with more than 30 homeowners in Exmouth to install rainwater harvesting. It has the dual benefit of providing our customers with genuine savings on their bill, while offering us storm attenuation to help us become more resilient to climate change.”

As part of the project, pupils at the school designed their own rainwater re-use features which are now installed outside their classrooms. One waters plants, while another is shaped like a cloud which demonstrates the water as raindrops.

Headteacher Nicola Taylor-Bashford said: “The children enjoyed the workshops looking at issues of flooding and drought and have designed their own rainwater harvesting features.

“It’s been a rewarding and fascinating project to be involved with and we’re delighted that we are now a leading water sustainable school.”

A ‘smart’ rainwater management system was also installed at the school by OTA Water to monitor fluid volumes and control the tank.

Peter Melville-Shreeve, chief executive of OTA Water, said: “Rainwater is a resource that can usefully be used – and yet at the moment we allow it to run down the drain and – all too often – flood our sewerage networks.

“With our smart rainwater harvesting system, we can help both the school to save money and save water, and help SWW prevent flooding and pollution further downstream.”

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