Bathwater doesn’t just make you clean – it can grow your roses too.
Melvyn Davenport has applied for six worldwide patents after inventing a device which siphons bathwater out of the wastepipe and into a garden waterbutt, after filtering it first.
The Watflow can be fitted to any downpipe – rainwater, kitchen sink, bath – of any size, square or round, automatically returns water to the pipe when it is full and can be fitted by a competent DIY-er.
Melvyn, aged 70, from Rotherham believes it could come into its own during hosepipe bans – and in countries facing water shortages – and has established Melport Plastics based in Dinnington,
A keen gardener, he was able to put his idea into action thanks to 30 years as an injection mould tool maker in the plastics industry.
That and a £5,000 grant from the Department of Business Innovation and Skills which he has used to pay for international patents and for Sheffield Hallam University to produce a prototype using its innovative Fused Deposition Modelling technology.
Melvyn said: “I am very excited to be almost at the stage when I can begin production, as Watflow can save an average household or business up to 75 per cent off their water bills.
“Our message to people is ‘Don’t pour your money down the drain’ as people need to be aware of just how much they could save by rainwater harvesting.”
He is also working with Sheffield Hallam University on developments including adding a pump to use rainwater to flush toilets and a purification device to make it suitable for drinking.
Melvyn also had help from Rotherham Investment & Development Office’s Soft Landing Zone which is focused on exports.
Nathan Woodcock of RiDO said it didn’t matter what stage a business was at.
“Our advice to Rotherham companies looking to export is that, no matter what stage your business is at, there are so many opportunities out there to grow and expand your company into overseas markets.”
As Melvyn’s mentor, Nathan carried out in-depth research into selling Watflow in garden centres, builders and plumbers merchants in the UK and three other countries with chronic water shortage problems – South Africa, Egypt and India.
It meant he had contacts for shops business support organisations in all four countries giving Melvyn a base for building his business.
Nathan added: “We are very excited about how his invention could take off across the world.”
Melvyn Davenport adds: “I’ve had some great support from RiDO and with Nathan’s help I have been able to identify new markets overseas. Nathan has carried out lots of research, which I simply would not have had the time or contacts to do. I am very excited to be almost at the stage when I can begin production.”