Government funds projects to devise water-saving processes

Seven projects to develop technologies that could save one billion litres of water a day have received £2.5m of government funding.

The technologies include an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for assessing hidden water supplies, an inspection vehicle that can travel through water pipes and methods of treating and reusing industrial and agricultural water.

The research is designed to meet the government’s aim of developing innovative solutions to secure future water supplies while developing profitable ways to use current water sources more effectively.

Iain Gray, chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), one of the bodies funding the research, said: ‘The sustainable and secure supply of water is a major challenge for modern societies.

‘This presents innovation opportunities in water for UK businesses, particularly in the export market and for companies in the supply chain. The research and development we are funding will help UK companies improve their access to global water markets.’

The companies running the projects, whose own investments take the total scheme budget to £5.6m, have been set the challenge of creating new technologies or processes that save or recycle the equivalent of one billion litres of water a day.

The projects include:

  • Treating industrial process water using a technology that destroys organic material in water and wastewater using a patented adsorbent material developed by Arvia Technology;
  • The SAVE Water project led by Balfour Beatty to develop the first in-pipe inspection vehicle that will use optical and acoustic sensors to carry out the structural assessment of water pipes;
  • An intelligent information and communication technologies system for ‘real-time abstraction and discharge monitoring’ to create a flexible way of optimising water resource management, developed by a consortium led by Cambrensis;
  • The HYDRA project led by Halcrow to develop a software platform for water resource management that will improve water security by integrating management and strategic planning;
  • The MICROCAT (microwave-assisted catalytic treatment of agricultural wastewater) project led by KEE Process to develop technology for treating and recycling agricultural and industrial wastewaters;
  • The QuestEarthWater project led by Quest UAV to develop an integrated UAV for assessing hidden water supplies using imaging sensors that can capture very detailed pictures of the landscape; and
  • The Smart Leakage Detection Pipes project led by Watershed Associates to develop an easy-to-install leak-detection system for existing and new water pipes, using self-contained pressure and vibration sensor nodes on the outside of the pipe.