When you contact us we want you to feel reassured that your query, issue or request for information will be dealt with first time, without fail
In recent years we have invested in ways to improve the customer experience and reduce costs by putting systems in place that focus on getting the job done quickly and reduce the need for someone to call us again.
In addition to our regionally based customer contact centre, we currently offer online accounts, a smart phone app and live information services such as:
- BeachLive (which offers live updates on bathing water quality at 70 beaches around the region).
- In your area (which updates you on all the front line work we are doing in your neighbourhood)
As technology and user trends develop, so too will the methods we use to provide and receive information. SMS texts and social media are two routes we are aiming to use more.
Underpinning our business activities are our policies relating to responsible financing.
We take every step necessary to ensure our borrowing and financial commitments are managed appropriately.
This includes ensuring that sufficient funding is available to meet foreseeable needs, maintain reasonable headroom for contingencies and manage interest rate risk.
Full details of our treasury and financing policies can be found in our Formal Reports.
Innovation and Efficiency
We continue to target innovative ways to reduce operational costs and mitigate potential volatility in the price of energy, chemicals and other essential raw materials.
In recent years our adoption of new or enhanced technologies such as remote network monitoring and control has helped us manage our systems, processes and staff more efficiently.
We also target low-cost sustainable solutions. This includes initiatives such as Upstream Thinking, and more recently Downstream Thinking, which look at how intervention at catchment level can reduce the need for infrastructure intensive methods of water and wastewater management.
Communication technologies are also a key part of our strategy for improving operational efficiency.
Through PUROS (Phased Utilisation of Remote Operating Systems) we are improving the way information is gathered and disseminated around the business. Remote technologies are giving us greater control over our resources and ensuring we can respond to any issues more quickly and effectively.
Advances in technology in areas such as drinking water treatment also offer scope for reducing the costs of our operations. The new drinking water treatment works for North Plymouth, planned for the 2015-20 period, will utilise cutting edge technology that is more cost-effective than traditional water treatment methods. Check out the video below.
Investments in this type of scheme are vital to ensure a sustainable future for our business.
Alongside the optimisation of our assets and networks, our growing use of renewable energy schemes is designed to help minimise our operational costs. As part of our energy strategy this is complemented by our ongoing work to foster a culture of efficiency and promote energy-saving with our staff.
Sustainable Supply Chain
We annually place approximately £100m of order value with companies which have a base in our region.
Our procurement process sets standards for our individual suppliers' approaches to economic, financial and environmental sustainability and we take rigorous steps to ensure they meet strict criteria in this regard.
We operate a 'mixed economy' supply chain model which uses smaller specialist companies along side larger strategic partners. A culture of innovation and the sharing of best practice is encouraged and celebrated, not least through our supplier awards.
In 2014/15 we developed our supplier sustainability programme to identify and deliver environmental benefits in key tenders, record the carbon footprint of key and strategic suppliers and implement the Suppliers Code of Conduct.
SUPPLIER CODE OF CONDUCT - suppliers must:
- assess and manage key environmental risks
- comply with environmental regulations
- focus on waste reduction and recycling
- measure their carbon footprint and target reductions
- larger companies are expected to have formal environmental management systems accredited to ISO 14001.ECONOMIC
- be financially sound
- operate a sustainable cost model providing a fair wage for employees and timely payment of suppliers
- support an open book approach to cost, encouraging collaboration and driving sustainable cost reduction
- maximise the benefit for the economy and employment in our region.
SOCIAL AND ETHICAL
- operate to the highest ethical standards
- accept our Supplier Code of Conduct
- comply with provisions of the Bribery Act 2010
- declare any personal interests
- comply with international labour standards in accordance with the principals of the International Labour Organisation Conventions
- support sustainable local communities in their areas of activity
- adopt appropriate ethical standards for global trading [ETI, SA 8000, UN Global Compact].
How can we help
Use the FAQ search to quickly find what you are looking for
Can I pay regularly by instalments?
Yes, if you’d find it easier to manage your bill my paying more regularly, we have payment plans available: If you don’t have a meter:Annual bills with payment due on 1 April each year for the year ahead. Payment plan Details Half yearly 2...
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...
My bill is in credit, can I get a refund?
If your latest bill is in credit and the bill is based on a reading rather than an estimated read (if you are on a meter), you can complete the details in our Arrange a free call back section on this page so that we can discuss the refund with you. If you’ve moved or...
My water is discoloured, what do I do?
To clear discoloured water, run the cold tap that is fed directly from the mains (usually your cold kitchen tap) for up to an hour, checking it every 10 minutes to see if it has cleared. If you are a household customer on a water meter, we can credit your account with...
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.