The utility said it had identified more than more than 30 sites that could power the water treatment process in areas such as rural Lanarkshire, the Borders, Stirlingshire, Angus and Fife. The project would involve hydro turbines being installed into existing pipelines, but may also involve the construction of some small buildings and electricity infrastructure for power transmission.

The work is expected to reduce the power costs for water treatment by 10%, playing a key part of keeping Scottish Water’s operating expenditure down.

“This is a key part of our Climate Change Strategy and will substantially reduce our carbon footprint,” said Ian McMillan, who is leading the building programme for Scottish Water’s Capital Investment and Delivery division. “This is nothing new – our asset base is already generating 5% of our power requirements across Scotland and the investment will double that output. We’ve identified a number of potential sites and these will be whittled down to the best 20 or so small hydro schemes.”

In addition to this project, Scottish Water Horizons, the commercial arm of Scottish Water, has recently installed a micro-turbine at the redundant Touch water treatment works in Stirling. This is creating power which is then sold back to the National Grid.