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Ever wondered what goes in to supplying a festival with water?

Industry views | 31 August 2018

Wincanton water delivering water to festivals across the UK

Following a busy few weeks supporting festivals across the UK, Scott O’Loughlin from Wincanton’s Water Services team, talks us through the challenges of providing a water supply to some of this summer’s most popular events.

“It’s been a long warm summer. And festival goers have been flocking to make the most of the season, without the fear of the wash-out we’ve had in recent years.

“By their nature, festivals are a concentration of time, people and resource.  And the logistics of providing basic water services can be complex and challenging.

“At Wincanton, our Water Services team (with support from our construction mobile crane and fork-lift fleets) has worked at major events throughout the summer, providing a water supply on-site for visitors, traders and organisers.  

“The job starts way before the events open to the public.  Take for example a music festival. The planning stage involves several site visits where we establish the volumes needed, the route from the stand pipe to the site, and the locations of each tank within the site.  Once the groundwork is done, it forms the basis for staff and resource planning, from shift patterns for our drivers to the number and frequency of trips needed for our tankers.

“What we call ‘bladder tanks’, holding around 100,000 litres of water, are installed on-site before we arrive.  These are connected to a set of pumps which distribute water along a network of pipes to where it’s needed.  While the water is primarily used for cooking, cleaning and showers, it must be a potable and drinking-grade supply.  Two to three days before opening, we begin filling the tanks, delivering 28,000 litres per tanker on each journey throughout the day and night. We work to keep ahead of demand, starting slowly and building up to the Friday and Saturday evenings when demand is greatest.

“The challenges for urban events are different.  The tanks used to supply the traders are smaller and more plentiful, in designated locations along the parade map.  For this environment, we use flat-packed, water bowsers; free standing cube-shaped tanks which each hold around 1,000 litres.  We set up and pre-fill the sealed bowsers off-site and deliver them to the agreed locations by specialist drivers using our mobile crane and fork-lift fleet.  The night before the event, we survey the tanks along the route, fitting taps ready for use. We refill in the early hours of the second day, and return to dismantle and collect the tanks after the event has closed.

“Each event needs its own approach - everything from how our vehicles tackle challenging terrain and crowded sites, through to helping our customers manage exceptional peaks in demand.  But with thorough planning and applying experience from 10 years of supporting festivals, we can help deliver a safe and plentiful supply, when and where it’s needed.”