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An innovative water reuse project will see the installation of a smart rainwater harvesting system at Home Park, the stadium of Plymouth Argyle Football Club (PAFC).

It represents a significant step forward in the club’s Energy and Environmental Plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, in addition to plans for ongoing stadium development.

Work will take place between late June and early July and is funded by the Market Improvement Fund, facilitated by MOSL – England’s market operator for the non-household water market.

The project is led by Pennon Water Services, a business water retailer, working with SDS.

SDS rainwater recycling systems ensure rainwater is prioritised as the primary water source, while ensuring a constant water supply, by intelligently switching to mains water when rainwater is unavailable.

Dr Neil Sewell, Director of New Technology Services at SDS, said: “The project aims to reduce the club’s water consumption and the amount of water it discharges to the drainage network. It’s about recognising that water is a precious resource. We’re delighted that Plymouth Argyle has engaged so constructively with the project and we look forward to working with them.”

Home Park is one of eight sites where rainwater recovery equipment is being installed and monitored to evaluate the potential of retrofitting water saving systems to existing attenuation tanks at commercial properties.

Greg Dugmore, Head of Commercial at Pennon Water Services Ltd, said: “We are delighted that Plymouth Argyle Football Club are helping to take the lead in delivering a sustainable water future by participating in an innovative water efficiency project. They will be one of the first businesses in the UK to test the use of non-potable water from attenuation tanks across their business, reducing the amount of treated potable water they use. Every litre of water extracted from these tanks is one less litre of water taken from the wholesale network, helping to reduce both their costs and the environmental impact of producing and transporting water. We are excited about the potential of this project and would like to thank Plymouth Argyle Football Club for their active participation and support.”

The purpose-designed rainwater harvesting system, sited at PAFC’s Mayflower Grandstand, has a 40,000 litre capacity and will enable the club to repurpose rainwater falling on the 1km2 surface area of the roof to feed the pitch irrigation system. The system will collect data on how much tap water is saved by using filtered rainwater instead.

Plymouth Argyle’s Head of Venue, Christian Kent, said: “Having the foresight to make these improvements will pay dividends in the long-term and underlines our commitment to reaching net zero. We were pleased to be able to take part in this pioneering project which could provide a blueprint for better water resource management for sports stadia and many other businesses.”

This unique project demonstrates the level of innovation and impact that can be achieved at commercial sites, with innovative thinking and smart technology delivering cost saving, carbon emission reduction and widespread environmental benefits.