Plymouth Argyle Football Grounds

07 Feb 2024

Championing sustainability through rainwater harvesting

Plymouth Argyle football ground is home to Championship League ‘The Pilgrims’. Ahead of plans to extend their Mayflower grandstand a collaborative site survey revealed an old, buried attenuation tank which was storing and slowly releasing rainwater to the sewer to minimise flooding.  Source for Business saw an opportunity to make use of the rainwater and were successful in securing funding from the water market regulator for an innovative and pioneering project to help the club achieve their ambitious net zero goals.

Rather than allow the rainwater to return to the sewer network for treatment, Source for Business wanted to intercept the water to recycle it for use in non-potable processes such as irrigation and the flushing of toilets, ideal for Plymouth Argyle who use potable drinking water to irrigate their ground.

Source for Business partnered with a local expert, ‘Sustainable Drainage Systems’ in Western-Super-Mare to support a pilot, smart rainwater management system.  By tapping into this source of stored rainwater, millions of litres of highly treated water could be recovered for Plymouth Argyle whilst saving on the wholesale cost of water treatment and transportation.  The water from the attenuation tank is transferred to existing onsite storage tanks, filtered and then pumped for irrigation purposes. Smart monitoring devices in place will help the overall reduction in potable water consumption.

The project will help the club to save money and formed an important part of their English Football League sustainability application.

Christian Kent, Head of Venue, Hospitality & Events at Plymouth Argyle says  “We are delighted to be working alongside Source for Business to bring this project to life. Sustainability is at the heart of our values and the rainwater harvesting will help us achieve our goal of being a net zero football club by 2050. Alongside the environmental benefits the financial aspects are also key to reducing cost in such a volatile market. We thank everyone for their role in delivering what has been a unique and innovative solution to water saving.”

Greg Dugmore, Head of Commercial at Source for Business, said “the water industry faces significant long-term sustainability challenges, so it just made sense to us to try to use the water we already have, especially when it doesn’t need to be treated. Why watch rainwater drain to a sewer to be treated and transported back to Plymouth Argyle at a higher cost when we had the chance to intercept and recover it there and then? We are delighted with the results and look forward to helping the club and other businesses find innovative ways to save money and protect the environment.”