Xylem water technology solutions enable Manchester City to improve water usage and efficiency by saving up to 1,000 cubic meters of drinking water every day.
In a world of escalating climate concerns, and specifically water-related issues including drinking water shortages, water pollution, water access, drought and flooding, it’s more important than ever for companies, teams and communities to protect this essential, but at-risk natural resource.
The partnership between City Football Group (CFG) and Xylem – the Group’s official water technology partner – aims to do just this, with both organizations committed to raising awareness of, and taking action to support, global water challenges and sustainability.
CFG’s flagship club, Manchester City, secured the premier league, domestic cup and European cup titles to complete the Treble during the 2022/2023 season, but they also have their sights set on becoming a global sustainability leader in sport.
Water conservation on the pitch
One important program for advancing Manchester City’s sustainability agenda is pursuing water recycling at their matchday and training facilities. When the City Football Academy (CFA) in Manchester, UK, was under construction in 2014, the Club installed a 12-million-liter attenuation tank, which collects rain and irrigation water for use on its 16 CFA pitches. There is also a similar system under the main pitch at the Club’s Etihad Stadium.
Recycling water in this way dramatically reduces the Club’s water footprint and prevents the unnecessary use of potable water (water treated to drinking standards) for irrigation purposes. Saving drinking water benefits the Club through reduced operational costs, and society by preserving this essential natural resource.
When the main attenuation tank at the City Football Academy experienced water quality issues, it was put out of use, which impacted the Club’s water footprint and increased their reliance on water from the local utility to maintain the pitches.
An audit of the problem enabled Xylem to find a viable solution: Xylem’s Wedeco LBX90e UV disinfection system in combination with a pre-filtration unit. This enabled Manchester City to resume using the attenuation tank, which reduces their use of potable water by up to 1,000 cubic meters a day.
“In a city like Manchester, which is renowned for raining, people sometimes wonder why capturing rainwater is needed,” said Pete Bradshaw, Director of Sustainability at City Football Group. “The simple answer is because this is about respecting what is arguably the earth’s most precious but threatened natural resource, to ensure it is conserved and preserved for the long term.”
“By capturing and harvesting rainwater from across our facilities we can improve our operational efficiency and support a positive environment.”
Water conservation off the pitch
This latest project highlights further ways in which Xylem and Manchester City are using the power of football to promote water sustainability across the globe, since the commencement of the partnership in 2018. Previous initiatives include:
In 2021, Xylem joined forces with fellow Manchester City partner, PUMA, and City’s global charity initiative Cityzens Giving, to launch the world’s first sports jersey dedicated to raising awareness of water challenges. The kit leveraged a special dope dye manufacturing process to reduce water consumption. The collaboration brought together PUMA athletes across Manchester City men's, women's and academy teams for a first-of-its-kind campaign that spotlighted global water issues and supported community projects in São Paulo, Mumbai, Buenos Aires, and Manchester, focusing on water access, education and football training.
“City Football Group, which includes Manchester City, brings the same level of commitment and passion to their sustainability game plan as they do to their on-pitch performance,” said Fiona Cole, Head of Brand and Partnerships at Xylem.”
“Xylem has a shared purpose and passion to progress water sustainability and as CFG’s official water technology partner, provides expertise and solutions to support the Group’s water footprint ambitions and sustainability goals.”
“We’re also delighted to be able to develop exciting initiatives to increase water awareness and inspire water-wise actions among City’s global fan community. It’s great to see the attenuation tank back up and running and water conservation in action, and we look forward to exploring further water infrastructure, water cycle management and water-related community projects with CFG Clubs globally. Sports teams, organizations and stadiums are well placed to advance the collective action needed for to advance global water sustainability.”
A global opportunity
Sports stadiums and entertainment venue environments require significant amounts of water for a wide variety of purposes, including maintaining grass pitches, cleaning tens of thousands of glasses and cups, as well as sanitation.
With water challenges now increasingly front of mind for governments, companies, industry and society, the sports industry has a powerful opportunity to contribute to the global water cause while improving their own sustainable practices, inspiring fans and protecting our planet’s future.