Our Employee Volunteering initiative enables staff to volunteer on one day per year to assist with projects linked in some respect to the environment, water or youth.
From beach cleans and forestry work to gardening at the Children's Hospice South West, the initiative is designed to make a positive difference while encouraging staff to take a wider interest in the communities they serve.
Since 2011 we have supported Keep Britain Tidy's BeachCare initiative. The removal of rubbish from the region's beaches clearly benefits local communities and makes beaches more attractive to tourists.
Beach cleaning also positively impacts on marine wildlife by helping to remove items that might contaminate the water or snare and kill certain species. Volunteers have helped clean beaches from Porthtowan to Bude on the north coast of the region and from Portwrinkle to Budleigh in the south.
Neil Hembrow, Beach Care Coordinator, estimates that our volunteers have so far cleared more than six tonnes of rubbish.
'Come rain or shine I have always been impressed by the enthusiasm and energy of South West Water beach clean teams. Sometimes we have had to go that extra mile when visiting remote beaches where the marine litter problems are at their worst.
Despite the arduous journey back from the beach with full bags, the groups' humour and teamwork are a great help when tackling the climbs and remote beach paths. Personally, its always an enjoyable and successful visit to the beach with South West Water staff.'
Support For Education
Vital to the sustainability of our region and our business are the steps we take to develop the local skills base.
As well as our apprenticeship scheme, we have close links with the region's schools, colleges and universities and provide educational materials, school talks, work experience placements and guest lectures (on university courses at Exeter, Plymouth and Bristol).
We have also been instrumental in the establishment of the new University Technical College for the region, based at Newton Abbot in Devon. www.southdevonutc.org
For additional information and resources visit our Learning Zone.
Engaging With Our Customers
It's vital that we respond to our customers' needs and preferences. To help us understand exactly what those are we do our best to provide opportunities for dialogue and feedback.
- quarterly customer satisfaction survey
- focus groups on specific topics (e.g. brand awareness)
- community Team activity
- company presentations to community groups
- the use of social media (including our facebook and twitter pages)
- qualitative survey of customer views as part of SIM (Service Incentive Mechanism - the industry measure of customer service)
Customer engagement in support of the Business Plan to 2020- 2025
The community team played a key part in our largest ever programme of customer engagement programme in support of our Business Plan to 2020, which was vital to ensure the plan reflected what customers wanted. .
Our plan was singled out for praise from Ofwat, with the regulator noting the high quality of our engagement process. Find out more here.
Following on from the success of our last Business Plan the team will be a fundamental componenet to speaking with our customers to underpin the next Business Plan 2020-2025 submission to the industry regulator Ofwat, which will determine prices for 2020-2025.
Help Where It's Needed
We aim to treat all our customers appropriately to their circumstances and we offer a range of schemes and initiatives for those who genuinely struggle to pay their bills. We also offer practical advice in areas such as water and energy efficiency.
Our affordability schemes include:
- Instalment-based flexible payment plans
- Switching to a water meter
- WaterSure tariff - for those in receipt of means-tested benefit or Tax Credit
- WaterCare tariff – our means-tested social tariff for those on very low incomes.
More information on all our schemes (jncluding how to apply) can be found here.
Opening Up Our Sites To The Public
Our Heritage Open Days provide valuable opportunities for the public to find out more about the services we provide. These include guided tours of our reservoirs, water and wastewater treatment works.
Look out for details for this years' tours.
How can we help
Use the FAQ search to quickly find what you are looking for
Can I build over a public sewer?
Yes, if your extension or proposed building work is over or within 3 metres of a public sewer or lateral drain, you’ll need to let us know. You’ll need to check our guidance notes to ensure you meet the criteria and if so, complete the Declaration of works form online...
How can I contact you?
You'll find all of our contact information here, which includes our most frequently asked questions and our telephone numbers.
What is a cubic metre?
A cubic metre equals 1000 litres of water. If you’re on a meter, the variable charge from 1st April 2019 for 1 cubic metre is: For water - £1.8477 For sewerage including surface water drainage – £3.5832 For sewerage excluding surface water drainage - £3.1549
What do I do if I have a blocked drain or sewer?
For blockages on a public sewer, please contact us on 0344 346 2020 so that we can confirm responsibility. We’re responsible for maintaining public sewers and we’ll attend within 4 hours to unblock the sewer, free of charge. If you are the homeowner, you are responsible...
Do you have any job vacancies?
Please see our Careers page for current vacancies, student placements, graduate development programme and apprenticeships.
What area do you serve?
We provide water and sewerage services to Devon, Cornwall and small parts of Dorset and Somerset. Our region is nearly 4,300 square miles (11,137 square kilometres) in size. There are 1.6 million residents and around 5 million visitors a year. We provide clean water to...
What is your code of practice?
Our Codes of Practice set out our legal obligations and responsibilities together with your rights and responsibilities as our customer. They are approved by the industry regulator Ofwat. They include information on the services that we provide, how we calculate water...
Where is your Head Office?
We’re based in Exeter. Our address is: South West Water Limited, Peninsula House, Rydon Lane, Exeter, Devon EX2 7HR View Larger Map | Get Directions | View Bird's Eye
Why do I have high pressure?
If you’ve noticed intermittent high pressureThere may be planned maintenance work in your area that’s causing a sudden surge of pressure or flow. Sometimes air can get trapped in your pipes, causing the increase in pressure which can be resolved by running your taps for...
Why do I have low pressure?
If you’ve noticed sudden low pressure:There could be a few reasons for this, a burst main for example that is causing a sudden dip in your pressure or flow. You will need to carry out a few checks: Check if the low pressure is only affecting your hot water, this would...
How hard is my water?
Our water quality postcode search can be found here. Most of our area is sourced from moorland rivers and reservoirs and is classed as soft or moderately soft. In East Devon the water comes from deep underground boreholes and this water is classed as slightly or...
What standards apply to water pressure?
We have a statutory requirement to supply water by gravity continuously for domestic purposes at a pressure that will; ‘reach the top of the top-most storey of every building’ (Water Industry Act 1991 Section 65) We also have service standards which are agreed with...
How can I dispose of fat, oil or grease?
Please follow these easy steps to keep fat, oil and grease out of your pipes by using your Gunk Pot or equivalent container: Scrape Scrape food scraps and fat off your plates into your bin or food waste recycling. Collect Use your Gunk Pot or similar...
What are you doing to prevent sewer flooding?
We know that being affected by sewer flooding is unpleasant and upsetting so we’re working hard to prevent it from happening. Take a look at our new approach Downstream Thinking to tackle flooding from sewers. We regularly clean our sewers especially those we know are...
How can I stop sewer flooding?
You can help to stop our sewers from blocking and flooding by following our guide below: Only flush the 3 P’s pee, paper and poo Bag and bin baby wipes, cotton buds, sanitary products, nappies and similar materials Do not pour grease or cooking fat down the sink – the...
Is it too late to adopt my private pumping station?
No, if you believe you have a private pumping station that we have not yet assessed or adopted, complete the form so that we can confirm if the site qualifies for transfer of ownership. The pumping station transfer of ownership happened on 1 October 2016 and included...
Can I swim in your reservoirs?
No, swimming isn’t allowed in any of our reservoirs. There are however many recreational activities including wakeboarding, sailing and windsurfing available through South West Lakes Trust.
Are there any hosepipe bans this year?
No. The last water restriction in our region was in 1996. More information is available on our water resources.
How much water does an average person use?
The national average annual usage figures have been taken from The Consumer Council for Water and are listed below: Yearly water use in Cubic Metres m3 Number of people living in your home Low use Average use High...
How can I save water?
By taking simple steps like spending one minute less in the shower or turning the tap off while you brush your teeth, can set you on track to start saving water. To help you save water around the home, we’ve teamed up with savewatersavemoney to offer a FREE water-saving...
How do I arrange for my private or business water supply to be tested?
If you are a household customer and are concerned about your water supply, please contact our Services Helpline on 0344 346 2020. If you have a private water supply e.g a borehole or well, or you are a business, you can arrange to supply us with a sample so that we can...
What kind of laboratory tests and services do you carry out?
Our laboratory carries out a wide range of chemical and microbiological tests. We analyse environmental and recreational samples to support business’ meet their regulatory and public health requirements. If you’d like to make an analytical enquiry you can use our online...
Can you test our trade effluent?
Yes. Our laboratory offers an independent analytical service for trade effluents. If you’d like to make an analytical enquiry you can use our online form
What public health and environment services do you provide?
Our Laboratory analyses environmental and recreational samples to support businesses in meeting regulatory and public health requirements.