Location: Meakin Estate, Decima Street, London
Each year, flooding costs the UK economy billions of pounds. In the 2007 floods, two-thirds of damage was caused by surface water flooding. The UK is also flushing 30% of the clean water that’s pumped into our houses each day, down the toilet. OTA-Analytics’ Smart Rainwater Management System combats flooding and reduces sewage spills by reusing and releasing rainwater. The smart tank system stores rainwater for re-use in toilets and green spaces, and automatically empties prior to storms; this maximises its storage capacity to mitigate flooding and minimises the need for costly sewage network upgrades.
We partnered with University College London and JMB for this experiment.
A growing population means we are already facing water shortages in many parts of the UK and forecasts suggest that by 2050, we will have a 400 million litre per day deficit. Increased rainfall also means that highly built-up areas, like London, are often at the greatest risk of flooding. The Thames Tideway is designed to reduce overflow from our sewer systems, but it will cost £4 billion+ and some sewage spills to rivers will still occur. Therefore, we require smarter ways to manage our water.
Built upon research with Exeter University, OTA-Analytics’ Smart Rainwater Management System harvests rainwater from storms and stores it in tanks, so that it can be reused. Collecting rainfall water not only reduces pressure on clean water resources, but also reduces the risk of storm flooding and sewage spills. This pilot experiment took place at the Meakin Estate in London and demonstrated that the system could help address flooding and drought risks in dense urban spaces.
The Smart Rainwater Management System securely transmits small amounts of data between nodes and a central control system; LoRa provided a great method for communicating between the sensors and control units requiring less power than alternative platforms.
- The tank installation was successful and well received by the local community and council, who are now keen to see further trials at alternative sites that they operate.
- A full prototype of the control unit and sensors was implemented and valuable data was gathered on rainfall and water usage during the study.
- LoRa successfully transmitted data from the OTA control systems during the project.
- The site was not covered by the existing LoRa gateway setup, so the OTA team set up a new gateway; this introduced some further challenges, which were solved with help from the Future Cities Catapult.
- “It was a great experience being surrounded by people who are experimenting with the latest technologies, which will play a crucial role in reaching our sustainable smart cities of the future. We received an excellent level of support from the technical and administrative teams at the Future Cities Catapult and will definitely stay engaged with their activities in the coming months.” Peter Melville-Shreeve, OTA
Learn about the other Things Connected experiments.