In case you missed it, Stormsaver is celebrating 20 years of water conservation success! In celebration of this important milestone, we wanted to throw it back to where it all began. For this week’s blog we asked our Marketing Executive, Matt to sit down with Mike Farnsworth, our CEO and Founder to ask him some questions on how he came to build the UK’s market leading water reuse company.

Fresh out of university, Michael joined forces with Lisa Farnsworth in 2003 to start Stormsaver and develop the first commercial rainwater harvesting system, 20 years on, they remain at the helm today; leading a team of 36 rainwater harvesting experts.

 michael rainwater harvesting expert

Matt: Hi Michael, thank you for sitting down with us today. I am sure you are as excited as I am that Stormsaver has reached 20 years. With lots to get excited about, could you start by summing up the past 20 years in three words?

Michael:

  • Exciting
  • Innovating
  • Fulfilling

Matt: Thank you. I can imagine it has been quite the journey! Can you take us back to where it all began by sharing how you got your inspiration to start Stormsaver?

Michael: When studying for my product design degree at Nottingham Trent University I came up with the idea of a commercial water saving product which would be available to the mass market. I started to research more about water conservation, and I found there was nothing available on the market. The more I researched, the more passionate I became to make a difference!

The university had just set up ‘The Hive’ which aimed to commercialise academic projects. The timing was perfect! They asked me to join the funded scheme where I could learn about manufacturing, engage in market research, and refine the product. This experience was invaluable, and it helped me to apply my product design background in a business setting.

When the product was ready, I published an article in the national press to tell all about the first mass-market water saving product in the UK. I had more enquiries than I could deal with! So, I asked my university friend Lisa to help me. We eventually decided to make a business and Stormsaver was born.

Matt: It must be really rewarding to know your systems are installed in thousands of buildings. Reflecting on the past 20 years, could you tell me your top 3 highlights?

Michael:

  1. Helping in developing nations by providing a clean, safe and sustainable water supply where previously there was none. Our work with Water Aid has helped to save thousands of lives across many countries including, Namibia, Tanzania, Peru, Kenya, and Mozambique.
  2. I was proud to see Stormsaver be awarded ‘Best Green Business’ at the UK Business Awards in 2022!
  3. Launching the first carbon neutral rainwater harvesting system. Not only does it provide a carbon free water supply, but it also generates its own power.
  4. One more (for good luck)! Working with the wonderful team. They are so passionate and an amazing group of people to work with which makes it all worthwhile.

Matt: Great! Equally, I can imagine the pressures of starting your own business has come with immense challenges. What was a challenge you faced and how did you over come it?

Michael: The biggest challenge we faced was getting buy-in from people as they did not know about the water challenges we faced. One of the major problems is that water is still so cheap in the UK so there is little motivation to change. We are all going to need to reduce our water reuse if we are to avoid shortages. Climate change is a real threat to water supplies in the UK. We are still overcoming this through education, working with government and collaborating with the construction sector to help provide future solutions.

Matt: Thank you for sharing. From my experiences working in a fast-paced industry like ours is so exciting as there is always something new! Could you tell me what you love most about the water reuse industry?

Michael: The work we do makes a real difference! Last year, we calculated our systems save 6.8 billion litres of water EACH YEAR! And this figure is increasing as we install more systems across the UK. There are so many opportunities for development and growth as the market is not yet mainstream.

Matt: I agree, and it is exciting to see where the industry is heading in the coming years. Can you give me an insight into where you think the industry is heading and maybe a sneak peek into some exciting product developments coming in the year ahead?

Michael: I think in the coming years we will see rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling made mandatory in all new builds. Not just in commercial buildings, but residential too.

We are developing lots of products all the time! Although I cannot share too much detail, we are working on large scale water reuse systems capable of handling significant amounts of water. This will help reduce pressure on existing utilities. Watch this space!

Matt: It is certainly exciting times! Thank you for your time today, Michael

Written by Matt
Marketing Executive

My role as a Marketing Executive means I get to keep up to date with all things water conservation. My favourite water saving tip is to turn taps of when brushing your teeth! I think rainwater harvesting and the water recycling industry is exciting, and I love sharing updates with our customers. View Matt’s Stormsaver profile here.

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Constructionline Gold Member CHAS Accredited UK Rainwater Harvesting Association Member Safecontractor Approved BSI Kitemark UK Business Awards Winner 2022