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Wessex Water considers wastewater metering

Wessex Water is considering introducing wastewater metering to encourage customers to reduce the amount they put down sewers. The company is currently trialing a scheme.

Wessex Water wants customers to prevent surface water entering sewersWessex Water wants customers to prevent surface water entering sewers

Speaking at the British Water and Wessex Water Innovation Exchange yesterday, David Elliott, director of environment and assets at the utility, said a wastewater meter might be "a real opportunity" to offer customers price incentives for reducing the volume they put down the sewer.

He said: "That is usually going to be surface water. The easiest thing they could do is remove surface water, put it in some rainwater harvesting mechanism and see a reduction in their bill potentially over the future.

"Introducing a wastewater meter, that's a really interesting one for us going forward."

Wessex Water has tried to think longer term about the challenges it faces and how it responds to those over time, said Elliott. However, he admitted there are some issues where "we just don't know how we're going to deal with them".

Elliott said flooding could not be resolved "unless customers got involved, unless we stop rivers  getting into our sewers. The objectives of the Water Framework Directive cannot be achieved unless we deal with diffuse pollution issue.

"We won't achieve the outcome unless we look at ways of innovating. That really is what is driving innovation".

He continued: "We can think what we need to do over the next five or six years but beyond that it becomes a lot more hazy, and particularly if we want to do so in a cost-effective way."

Another challenge in terms of introducing innovation is the industry's five-yearly delivery cycle. The challenge here, said Elliott, is that there is a limited time to deliver an outcome. The easiest choice to make is "the one you know and trust".

Elliott said: "To a degree that is one of the main reasons that innovation is stifled in the water sector. It's about not being prepared to take the risk when you know you can deliver maybe something a bit more expensive, that maybe can't quite do the job as a new technology but you know, like it and can get it in the time you have.

"We have to break that cycle. We have to go back to the long-term outcomes and look at technologies and ways we can deliver outcomes."

● Find out more in the next issue of WET News, published on August 6

Author: Maureen Gaines, Editor, WET News Find on Google+
Topic: Innovation
Tags: rainwater harvesting , wastewater , surface water , Innovation

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