Water is becoming an increasingly high profile issue globally. Whether it is increasing prevalence of drought in the Middle East or flooding in the UK, we have a responsibility to protect this resource.

To demonstrate just how seriously we take this issue, we are rolling out our water reduction plans across our entire footprint, and helping our customers to do the same. We have expanded the collection of data on water consumption and are monitoring progress against targets for year-on-year reductions. We are proud to report that we now have data on water consumption for all our business units.

In 2012, we developed Water Reduction Plans for our contracts to trial and outline reduction measures for metered water, standpipes and abstraction. We focused heavily on establishing a robust water usage baseline. Full rollout is scheduled in 2013. Bureau Veritas was satisfied with our methodology for collating water data using our new web-based system, Capture.

We are also making the best of the market’s latest water-saving technologies. For example, at Muscat airport, Oman, the construction team installed a Biokube sewage treatment plant with the intention of using the treated water for concrete curing. During 2012 over 6 million gallons of water were conserved using this technology, equating to a cost saving in excess of OMR24,000 (£40,000) and saving over 35,000kg of carbon.

United Arab Emirates

Water tanker

Reusing water at Al Jalila Children’s Hospital

At our Al Jalila Children’s Hospital contract in the United Arab Emirates, instead of using salt water (which would need to be sourced externally and imported to the site), the engineers have found a way of using dewatering water (water pumped from the site to maintain a dry and stable condition) to minimise dust on site.

Before reusing the water in this way, independent laboratory tests were carried out, which found that the dewatering water met all the parameters for dust suppression. The benefits are not only in cost savings, but in reducing related environmental impacts like carbon emissions.

In addition to tackling water scarcity, an acute problem in our Middle Eastern operations as well as a growing challenge in parts of the UK, we are also aware that some areas in which we operate are at the opposite end of the spectrum. 2012 was the second wettest year on record for the UK, and flash flooding is a growing problem.


Flood prevention measures

Awards for flood prevention, Glasgow

The White Cart Water Flood Prevention Scheme has significantly reduced flood risk from more than 1,700 homes and 40 businesses in vulnerable suburbs of Glasgow. It won the Environmental category at the British Construction Industry Awards in 2012, and is a multiple winner in other national awards.

Twenty major floods over the last 100 years have seen the White Cart Water cause significant damage locally. As part of Scotland’s largest flood prevention scheme, Carillion won the contract to construct the three flood storage sites, after extensive community engagement in the design of the defences.

These have the largest vortex controls in the world, which reduce river flows by up to 45%, meaning that 15% fewer flood defences are needed. The vortices also have no moving parts and are passable by fish and mammals. By reducing the wall height by more than a metre in places, environmental and visual impact is minimised.

Most of the materials needed to make the earth embankments were sourced from the site, and 28,000 lorry movements were saved. As part of the scheme, nine hectares of species-rich wetland, grassland and woodland were created, including new habitats for otters, badgers and sand martins.

Water Champions

We now have over 30 trained Water Champions across our Middle East business and continue to allocate new ones to each of our operational sites. These individuals are trained to identify and recommend options and opportunities for water reduction, such as:

  • flow reducers on taps
  • push taps on all site hand-washing facilities
  • use of waterless urinals
  • using a curing compound instead of water in the Middle East, which saved 5,000m3 of water on one project.

In 2013 we will roll out our water reduction plans and move our focus from strategy to tangible reduction measures. Where we have design and construction responsibilities, our aim is to make full use of cutting-edge water-saving technologies. Our facilities management teams will also continue to maximise the efficiency of water-saving devices across our portfolio.

Committed to...

...monitoring and reducing our water consumption by 25% by 2015

See our progress against targets


of our business units now have data on water consumption


water saved by using air to clean cooling lines rather than water, Middle East and North Africa


reduction in water use, Middle East and North Africa


Rain water harvesting in the Caribbean

Harvesting rain water

In our Caribbean operations, the team has been finding innovative ways to capture rain water. The Waterloo and Galeota depots both have four 1,000-gallon water tanks to collect rain water run-off. This water is used to flush toilets and damp down the site during dry spells to reduce local dust pollution, which is a problem on these coastal sites.

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