Water recycling

We’re exploring ways to keep treated wastewater in our network and using it to supplement other sources of water. We call this water recycling.

What’s water recycling?

The water we provide for our customers is taken from the environment. After our customers have used it, we treat it and return it to the environment once more. The cycle then repeats.

Water recycling essentially speeds up the natural process of water treatment. Instead of returning treated water to the environment, we’re exploring ways to recycle it. This means we can keep it in our network reducing the amount we need to take from the environment.

A treatment process, which is in addition to any existing treatment wastewater receives, that includes micro-filtration allows us to turn what was previously regarded as wastewater into clean water. Tiny membranes are used to filter out salt and other molecules. In fact, so much is stripped from the water that we have to add some necessary minerals back in afterwards.

This process is already in use in other parts of the world – for example in California, they’ve been recycling water for more than 40 years.

What our customers say about water recycling...

Our water recycling plans

We’ve outlined plans for a new Water Recycling Plant that would be capable of recycling at least 15 million litres of water a day from our Budds Farm Wastewater Treatment Works in Havant.

Our preferred option is to pump the recycled, purified water into the Havant Thicket Reservoir where it would mix with spring water before being taken to our Otterbourne Water Supply Works for further treatment to become drinking water. Topping up the reservoir with highly-treated recycled water would ensure more water is available for public supply, especially during a drought. Just like water across the country has its own distinct taste due to the chemical make-up of the water in different regions, the water taken from the reservoir under these proposals may taste different from existing supplies due to the change in source. This water will, of course, continue to meet strict drinking water quality standards and be safe and wholesome to drink.

We’re working with a range of international experts, our regulators and environmental organisations to develop our plans. And we will be asking everyone for their views in the planned consultations.

These proposals were not part of the original, approved planning application for Havant Thicket Reservoir and if they are to go ahead they will be subject to further engagement, consultation and planning consent.

In developing our proposals we have also investigated a back-up option should it not be possible to secure an enhanced use of the new reservoir. This would involve pumping the recycled, purified water directly to a new lake that would need to be created at our Otterbourne Water Supply Works for further treatment to become drinking water. It would also use our Peel Common Wastewater Treatment Works as a source for recycled water. This is a back-up option that is not being consulted on this summer. Should it be necessary to switch to this back-up option, we would consult on it further.

This is just one of our strategic solutions we're exploring to address water shortages in Hampshire.

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