The city of Bristol, England, receives nearly half of its drinking water from the River Severn, supplied via the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal. New column pumps from Xylem’s Flygt brand transport an average of 100 million liters of water a day, while reducing energy use and CO2 emissions.
The column pumps at Gloucester Docks are vital for managing water levels in the Gloucester and Sharpness Canaland keeping Bristol’s water supply running. The pumps, however, were reaching the end of their working life and maintaining them had become time-consuming and costly, since they needed to be lifted out of their positions and manually inspected.
The Canal & Rivers Trust, responsible for the canal, decided to replace the aging pumps as part of wider activities to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions at the site, and to improve water monitoring. Xylem was tasked with replacing the pumps, while minimizing disruption to the drinking water supply for 300,000 Bristol residents.
Some of the funding for the project was provided via the People’s Postcode Lottery, as part of its Postcode Climate Challenge initiative.
Installing energy-efficient pumps
Xylem provided end-to-end support on the project, capturing the specific requirements of the site, and selecting the most appropriate pumps and control systems to meet The Canal & Rivers Trust’s needs.
The pump replacement project involved the installation of four new, custom-designed Flygt column pumps at the Gloucester Docks site. The pumps were installed over three phases between 2021 and 2023 to minimize disruption.
Flygt column pumps weigh over three metric tons and can fill an Olympic-size swimming pool every 21 minutes. A 40-metric-ton road crane was needed to install each pump.
“The new Flygt pumps are highly efficient, have a higher level of resilience and have been designed to be easier to maintain, helping their sustainability and giving them a life span of around 20 years,” says Ian Bull, Regional Account Manager, Industry and Infrastructure at Xylem. “They are controlled by a monitoring system so the Trust can continuously manage water levels in the canal.”
Xylem also fitted technology to other equipment in the field to allow for remote monitoring and control of the full system.
Energy consumption reduced by 10%
Xylem provided The Canal & Rivers Trust end-to-end project management that utilized the breadth and depth of experience from across the company. This allowed for the smooth running of the project and subsequent delivery of the customer’s requirements on-time and on-budget.
The four Flygt column pumps installed by Xylem can take an average of 100 million liters of water per day from the River Severn to feed the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal, ensuring the water levels at the canal remain stable and drinking water makes it way to Bristol residents.
In addition, C02 emissions have been reduced through the use of energy efficient motors and upgraded propellers, and the pumps have cut the electricity consumption for the pumping station by around 10 percent. Since the pumps can be controlled by the Trust’s SCADA software, the need for on-site visits and physical inspections has been reduced, helping the Trust save on maintenance costs.
“Since 1834, water has been pumped from the Severn into the canal, and these new pumps are the latest exciting step in helping us to continue reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions while supplying hundreds of millions of liters of water each week,” says Nigel Taylor, Senior Maintenance Engineer from the Canal & River Trust.
“Xylem’s work on this project demonstrates their unique end-to-end customer offering – from the bespoke design of pumping equipment based on the exact needs of our site, through phased installation and commissioning, and ultimately their invaluable ongoing post-project service.”