Scottish Water Reduces Energy Consumption by 60% and Cuts Greenhouse Gas Emissions with Sustainable Water Technology

Scottish Water has made a big dent in its greenhouse gas emissions by deploying advanced technology at 200 pumping stations across its network. By combining high-efficiency 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 essential 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 leading global water technology company Xylem, Scottish Water began trialing a smart pumping solution at two pilot sites, Maple Grove and Cross Dene. The trial delivered pronounced 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 incredibly 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,” 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 and gives us a major boost in our work to reduce our impact on the climate.”

A pioneer of digital innovation, Scottish Water combined several Xylem technologies – Avensor monitoring and Flygt Concertor intelligent pumps – to deliver the 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 37,000 liters in diesel consumption, reducing its annual carbon output by 160 tCO2e.

“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the water sector presents a unique opportunity to rethink water management. New approaches and advanced technologies can help water utilities go further, faster,” Ian Thompson, Xylem Vice President UK & Ireland, said. “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 to a reservoir in West Dunbartonshire. Using Xylem’s SoundPrint Acoustic Fibre Optic System – the first of its kind in Europe – Scottish Water carried out extensive inspections of the pipeline, allowing the utility to reduce the possibility of failure by proactively maintaining areas found to be at risk.

Data from the inspection showed that only 2% of the pipeline needed maintenance attention. Scottish Water achieved significant 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 greenhouse gas footprint by avoiding emissions associated with unnecessary pipeline replacements.

Meet the people involved in accelerating Scottish Water’s journey to net zero emissions by 2040: Technology powers Scottish Water’s emission reduction journey, transforming pumping stations and paving the way to net-zero goals

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