Scottish Water has dropped its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by deploying Xylem technology at 200 pumping stations across its network. By combining pumps and advanced digital technologies, the utility has reduced energy consumption by up to 60%, accelerating its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2040.
As Scotland’s publicly owned water supplier, Scottish Water provides water and wastewater services to more than 2.6 million homes and 150,000 business premises across Scotland. Its pump stations move water across a large geography, including remote villages and islands, so the utility was challenged to keep energy consumption and emissions down.
In collaboration with global water technology company Xylem, Scottish Water began a smart pumping solution trial at two pilot sites, Maple Grove and Cross Dene. The trial delivered cost savings, including a 99% reduction in unplanned maintenance and a 40% reduction in energy, prompting the utility to adopt the technology across its network.
“Moving and treating wastewater is energy intensive. Around 17% of transport emissions in Scotland are from the water and wastewater operations sector, so anything we can do will have a big impact for both Scottish Water and the country,” said Nathan Wield, wastewater operations west manager for Scottish Water, said. “By deploying smart technology, we can prolong the lifetime of our equipment, prevent callouts, and reduce downtime, so there is less service disruption and reduced risk of environmental impact. This delivers real cost savings for the Scottish people.”
Scottish Water combined several Xylem technologies — Avensor monitoring and Flygt Concertor intelligent pumps — to deliver cost and energy savings. The utility now has real-time visibility and control across its network. Remote monitoring has enabled the Scottish Water team to replace weekly callouts with monthly inspections.
As a result, the utility saved more than 400,000 miles of reactive travel and 37,000L in diesel consumption, reducing its annual carbon output by 160 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
“Reducing GHG emissions across the water sector presents an opportunity to rethink water management. New approaches and advanced technologies can help water utilities go further, faster,” added Ian Thompson, Xylem vice-president, the UK and Ireland. “Innovative utilities like Scottish Water are a prime example of what can be achieved by harnessing the power of digital to decrease the sector’s impact on the environment — and still deliver a resilient, cost-effective, and reliable service for communities.”
Scottish Water also deployed advanced monitoring systems to extend the life of critical assets, including a main pipeline that runs more than 10 miles from the Blairlinnans Water Treatment Works (WTW) to a reservoir in west Dunbartonshire. Using Xylem’s SoundPrint Acoustic Fibre Optic System — reportedly the first of its kind in Europe — Scottish Water carried out inspections of the pipeline, allowing the utility to reduce the possibility of failure by maintaining areas found to be at risk.
Data from the inspection showed that 2% of the pipeline needed maintenance attention. Scottish Water achieved cost savings by extending the life of the remaining pipe sections resulting in fewer disruptions to customers. That approach to monitoring and targeted maintenance also further reduced the utility’s GHG footprint by avoiding emissions associated with unnecessary pipeline replacements.