Water engineering feats hailed at ICE ‘oscars’

Posted: Wednesday 4th November 2015

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has celebrated the contribution of water engineers by creating a special category in its prestigious annual Awards, which were presented in Westminster today (9 October) by BBC journalist Alice Bhandhukravi and ICE President Professor David Balmforth.

Named after the veteran water engineer himself, The Chris Binnie Award for Sustainable Water Management recognises actions and innovations within the water sector that have benefited society by improving the sustainability of water over the past two years.

Two projects were presented with the Award - an innovative flood project in South Wales, delivered by Arup and Morgan Sindall and Southern Water’s water metering project, saving millions of litres of water.

Arup and Morgan Sindall’s flood defence joint venture retrofitted existing urban landscape in the South Wales town of Llanelli to battle local flooding and pollution. Storm water now flows directly from the streets to the Loughor Estuary, taking pressure off the overloaded Victorian sewer network, and at the same time promoting biodiversity. The project has reduced peak flood flows by 70%, also protecting 115 properties from devastation since its completion in 2014.

Arup Engineer Rosemary Cripps commented on behalf of the team: “We are delighted to accept this award on behalf the entire project team from Arup and Morgan Sindall. We hope this national recognition is the start of a more sustainable approach to water management in the water industry.”

Southern Water’s universal water-metering programme has delivered huge water savings of 30 million litres a day across the South East – enough water to meet the daily demand of Worthing and Hastings combined.

Over five years Southern Water has installed nearly half a million state of the art water meters across the region, which also include automatic leak detection facility, allowing a further saving of 7 million litres per day. The University of Southampton has calculated that Southern Water’s customers are on average using 60 litres per household per day less water. This represents a huge 16.5% reduction - far more than the predicted national average of 10% when meters are installed.

Meyrick Gough, Southern Water strategy manager commented: "It's an honour to be recognised at a national level - sustainable water management is vital for the future of our society and I am thrilled that our universal programme has made such an impact.

"I am proud that our work has created a vibrant and evidence based debate around metering and thrilled our customers have embraced the fact that reducing water use can have a positive impact on both the environment and on their bills."

Chris Binnie, ICE Fellow and ICE Water Expert Panel member, added: “Becoming more sustainable in our management of water is vital for the future of our society. I am delighted that ICE, of which I have been a fellow for almost 40 years, has recognised this. Both winning schemes are at the forefront of technology and the winners are to be congratulated on what they have achieved."

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