10th August 2018

Weekly dry weather update: 10 August 2018

New figures released by South West Water show how demand for water skyrocketed in July, following a month of near record-breaking temperatures.

The company produced an extra 1,624 megalitres of water (1,624,000,000 litres – the equivalent of 650 Olympic-sized swimming pools) during the month compared to 2017.

Rob Scarrott, Head of Environment, said: “Demand for water during July peaked on Wednesday 25, when we produced 554 megalitres – compared to 486 megalitres on 25 July 2017.

“The biggest difference between July 2017 and 2018 was on 15 July, when we produced an extra 86 megalitres this year compared to last year, an increase of 21 per cent.

“We’ve been working hard behind the scenes during the recent prolonged period of hot and dry weather, staffing a number of our key treatment works 24 hours a day to meet the increased demand for water.

“We are also putting a lot of additional resource into detecting and repairing leaks, which have increased due to the hot, dry weather – as the ground dries and contracts it pulls pipes out of alignment.

“Overall reservoir storage is at a satisfactory level but we are still asking customers to use water wisely to help conserve supplies. The more water we all save now the more will be left for the rest of the summer.”

The company is sharing its top tips for saving water in the garden and the home, which also saves money for customers on a meter:

In the garden:

  • After the recent rainfall, the RHS advises that the best way to keep lawns looking healthy with more dry weather forecast is to keep it on the longer side if you do cut it and watch out for weeds appearing and taking over in bare patches
  • Use a watering can instead of a hose
  • If your garden needs watering, do so early morning or evening to reduce evaporation
  • Use a bucket and sponge instead of a hose to clean your car (or leave it for another week – it’s only going to get dusty!)
  • Use any remaining water from your water butt first

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

See website for information: https://www.southwestwater.co.uk/water-advice-and-services/start-saving-water-today/ and https://www.southwestwater.co.uk/reservoirlevels

Notes to editors

  • 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.
  • Our total reservoir storage is 66.3% compared to 73.4% at this time last year.
  • Levels in our smaller, local reservoirs reflect the ongoing lack of rainfall and increased demand for water but we are closely monitoring the situation and supplementing these sources using our three largest, strategic reservoirs – Wimbleball, Roadford and Colliford. This is normal operating practice.
  • 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

www.southwestwater.co.uk/contactus