Recycling work helps Lowaters slash utility bill

The new water recycling system at Lowaters Nursery has reduced its annual water bill from more than £23,000 to £15 within two years.

Speaking at the nursery's Water Discussion Day, director Charles Carr, who is Government Office for the South East water champion, said: "The main message from this event is that if you are using high amounts of mains water, putting in a recycling system will pay for itself within two to three years. Water supplies are going to become more stretched and we are likely to see water charges going up."

Carr carried out research into the use of recycled water systems while developing the nursery's own system. During the discussion day, he presented his Horticultural Water Storage & Conservation paper to fellow growers.

Lowaters installed the £84,000 system two years ago, with 40 per cent funding from the South East England Development Agency, which also funded Carr's research. The water recycling system comprises a seven-million-litre reservoir and an iris bed to filter the water, which once cleaned goes back into the nursery's irrigation system.

Carr said of the system: "It's nice to see that it's actually working and we have got quite a good payback on the reservoir - and it should pay for itself in less than four years."

He added: "Having gone through all of this, I have realised just how much there is to gain from using water wisely in nurseries. All we have to do now is take all of this information and make it work on the nursery."

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