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Tap water is precious – use less, save more

29th May 2020

The recent warm, dry weather, coupled with people spending more time at home and in the garden, is increasing demand for water across the region.

South West Water says that water usage is at similar levels to 2018 and 2019, despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on tourism and business.

Rob Scarrott, Head of Water Resources and Water Efficiency, said: “Even though we aren’t welcoming visitors to our region at the moment, we are still producing as much water as we were at this time in 2019 and 2018 to keep up with demand from household customers.

“We always see an increase in demand for water as temperatures rise, and a lot of that is down to gardening. This is where collectively we can all help conserve supplies – as well as save money on our water bills.

“You can ease the pressure on your purse and help protect the environment by only using the tap water you really need. With most people in our region on a water meter, the less we use the lower bills are. We can also offer help on how to make sure you are not using more tap water than you need to.

“Meanwhile, we’re also working hard behind the scenes to detect and repair any leaks quickly and to keep water flowing to homes, hospitals, schools and businesses.”

The company has teamed up with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) to help green-fingered growers save water and money by using water wisely in the garden.

It is also offering free water-saving devices and subsidised water butts at www.southwestwater.co.uk/savewater

The RHS has appointed a Garden Water Scientist, Janet Manning, whose research will help guide gardeners to be even more water smart.

Here are some of Janet’s top tips:

  • Use a water butt to collect rainwater – it could fill up with water for free 300 times a year
  • Use a watering can to get water where your plants really need it – at their roots and not on foliage
  • It’s best to water plants early in the morning, or in the evening, when it will take longer for it to evaporate
  • Mulch around plants using organic matter such as wood chip or compost. Use stones, gravel or sea shells as a mulch to dress plants in pots. Mulching is marvellous: it deters weeds, improves soil texture and helps soil retain water
  • During dry spells, focus watering on young plants as they establish, vegetable crops and plants growing in pots
  • Place a stick or other marker where you have planted rambling or trailing plants – that way you know you are watering their roots
  • If there is a dry spell, your lawn will not look as lush but it will recover when it rains again. If it needs mowing, set your lawnmower to cut higher and leave clippings where they fall to act as mulch
  • Spending more time in the garden lets you get to know it well – which parts dry out first, which areas hold on to water, what is in shade and when. Visit rhs.org.uk for planting ideas

See more RHS tips at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2FtszRlmzs

Rob also has some top tips for saving water in the home:

  • Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth
  • Keep a jug of water in the fridge so you don’t have to run your tap cold
  • Use a bowl for washing up / rinsing fruit and veg – then use this water for plants   
  • Have a shower instead of a bath
  • Only use your dishwasher or washing machine when you have a full load (this will save money on your energy bills too)
  • Only fill the kettle with as much water as you need (this will save energy too)
  • Fix leaking taps and toilets

Notes to editors

  • Total reservoir storage is 86.7% compared to 84.2% at this time last year
  • Water is always a precious resource and we encourage our customers to use it wisely, whatever the weather. This helps to keep customer bills down and protects the environment
  • Since 1996 (the last year the South West Water region had water restrictions), we have reduced leakage from the pipe network by 40% and achieved our leakage targets
  • Over 80% of domestic customers now have meters (compared with 8% in 1995). Customers who switch to a meter tend to use 15% less water as a result
  • We have invested heavily to secure supplies and been innovative in ways of increasing our reservoir storage, for example converting two former clay pits in Cornwall at Park and Stannon. We have also invested in pump storage schemes at Wimbleball and Colliford to improve resilience

For further information please contact:

South West Water