Keeping the water flowing at new NHS Nightingale Hospital in the South West

On Monday 27 April 2020, the NHS opened its latest Nightingale hospital to in Bristol to look after critically ill coronavirus patients. We’ve been able to play a small but vital role in the construction and safe running of the site. We all know it is vital to have clean, reliable water to a site like this, but getting it there in just two weeks isn’t as easy as you’d hope.

Our Water Quality team identified that the University building, which was being converted to a hospital, is thought to be the only UK COVID facility to not have any on site water storage.  This posed a potential issue in the unlikely event that supply was ever lost due to a burst water main, as the site requires water at all times.

Working with ATI, Imperial College London and Inflowmatrix, and after extensive inspections of the site, many hours spent modifying pipework and brainstorming solutions. We provided an extensive early warning system. This protects the hospital and allows us to put in place rapid response plans. The NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol now has some of the most extensive water supply monitoring in the country. 



As part of continuous water supply plans for the site, an injection point has been installed, with two dedicated tankers on standby just four miles away from the hospital’s location. This emergency measure can provide up to 6 hours of continuous supply if needed.The hospital is being monitored 24 hours a day by our control room, with additional support from all supply monitoring partners involved.


Samantha Vince, Head of Water Quality at Bristol Water, said: “This hospital plays a crucial role in the regions Covid-19 response and it goes without saying that a safe and continuous water supply is paramount.“The hospital venue is thought to be the only one in the country without options for on site storage in place prior to its new use. Within just two weeks, we’ve provided state of the art monitoring which can allow us to react very quickly.  Also ensuring that what is place conforms in full to all water quality regulations, despite emergency legislation initially not recognising the need to maintain these requirements


A huge thank you to our Water task force team, monitoring partners, DWI, Water Regulations Advisory Scheme (WRAS), and of course our fantastic NHS trusts across the region.”


Garry Tabor, ATi UK Executive Director, said: “ATi UK is pleased to be working with Bristol Water to support the NHS during the current pandemic, by donating our SiteBox portable water treatment control centre for the new Nightingale facility.


  • The NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol has some of the best supply monitoring in the industry, which conforms to all water quality regulations and has a six-hour continuous supply plan in place in case of emergencies.
  • The hospital, based at the University West of England (UWE) conference centre in Bristol, was formally opened today (27 April 2020) by His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex.
  • As a result of the partnership, real-time data can be monitored via 12 onsite chemical and physical monitors placed within water mains in the area and within the hospital complex, assessing flow, pressure and quality at all times. 
  • The new facility is one of seven Nightingale hospitals to be set up around the country as part of a massive NHS effort to respond to the greatest global health emergency in more than a century.
  • Bristol Water discovered about the NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol proactively on Friday 3 April as part of its local resilience partnership, and on Tuesday 21 April, the water supply preparations were completed