Important health information
Coronavirus update and FAQs
How we’re supporting our customers and employees.
Covid-19 is affecting everyone, everywhere – but we can get through it if we all support each other. Looking after our customers and employees is our top priority. So, we’ll be working hard to prioritise emergencies and put the needs of our most vulnerable customers first – no matter what.
Our people are still working hard to keep your taps running and toilets flushing, and taking every precaution necessary to keep themselves and you safe. If you see one of our team working near you, it's for an essential job, so please do not approach us during this time.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) - updated 27th May at 11:30am
Is my water safe from the Coronavirus?
Yes, your drinking water is safe. The World Health Organisation reports there is no risk to tap water which has been disinfected with chlorine as part of the treatment process. Chlorine is added to our drinking water supplies to remove harmful pathogens including viruses. The evidence from the spread of the virus shows that the drinking water supply is not a route of transmission of the virus.
Shielding, increased risk groups or symptomatic - water deliveries during a supply interruption
You might not know about our Priority Services but we're encouraging customers that are shielding, in an increased risk group, or have symptoms, to sign up - even if it is for a temporary amount of time.
Why are we asking customers to sign up?
If there’s a disruption to your supply, for example a burst water pipe, and you can't leave your home to get alternative water supplies we'll arrange for a water delivery to you.
How can you help me with my bill?
We are anticipating more customers will be seeking short term support during the coming months and we will do whatever we can to be fair in our application of support during these most difficult times. We will assess the individual needs of our customers who genuinely need it to help continue to pay their water bills. We urge customers to get in touch if they are genuinely struggling to discuss how we can help.
Can you suspend bills for a month or help low earners and the self employed?
We are urging customers to get in touch if they're genuinely struggling. We have lots of different ways customers can pay to suit their individual circumstances, and we are mindful of what the Government is putting in place to support everyone at this time. We will adapt our affordability measures depending on individual customer circumstances.
I’m using more water - can I have a credit?
We understand that many customers being at home and following government guidance will be using a bit more water to wash hands etc, there are ways that you could look to save water in other activities to counteract this additional use as water is still very much a precious resource.
There's simple things you can do to save water, such as, take a minute less in the shower and change your flushing habits! (if it's yellow let it mellow).
However, if you are worried about how this will affect you then please get in touch to see whether we can look at your current pay arrangements or if your circumstances have changed to see if you qualify for additional support.
Why are you carrying out works on my street?
The safety and wellbeing of our staff and our customers is of utmost importance to us. Being identified as key workers means you'll continue to see us working to maintain your water and wastewater services.
Now that certain lockdown restrictions are being lifted, we are starting to resume work that can be carried out in a safe way, in line with the Government's latest advice.
If you do see us, please help protect us by not approaching – a smile, wave, thumbs up or nod is fine (from a safe distance)
How is South West Water keeping customers safe during visits?
If we need to visit your home we’ll ask you if:
- You or anyone in your home has been diagnosed with Covid-19
- You or anyone in your home has been advised to self-isolate
- Anyone in your home is at higher risk – that is over 70, diabetic etc
If you answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, we’ll work with you to assess your need for a visit before deciding what to do next. We’ll prioritise emergencies and we may need to postpone non-urgent visits to a later date.
Our staff will also call you on the day of your appointment and ask the same set of questions, in case anything has changed since you booked.
When a member of staff does visit a customer’s home, they’ll take additional precautions – including hand-washing – before, during and after the appointment. They’ll protect you and your family members by keeping a safe distance at all times – and we ask you to do the same.
I have an appointment booked – will it go ahead?
We are following government's advice and guidelines. Until further notice our employees will only be carrying out essential work to keep your taps running and toilets flushing.
We are trying our best to update customers about cancelled appointments, and we apologise if we haven't been able to get in touch with you.
Are you going to stop sending bills during this time?
We are not going to stop sending bills at this time, it is important that customers continue to pay, even if it’s less than you would normally. If you’re circumstances have changed and you're genuinely struggling to pay then please click here to tell us.
If customers are using more water surely South West Water is making more profit?
The amount of revenue we are allowed to raise from customer bills is set by our Regulator Ofwat over a five-year period. Additional revenue raised in one year above the amount we are allowed to raise is passed back to customers in subsequent years through lower charges.
If I run out of toilet paper can I flush kitchen roll, wet wipes or something else?
Now, more than ever, it's really important that you don't flush any kitchen roll, wet wipes or blue paper down the toilet as these can cause major blockages in the sewers.
As a reminder, in the bathroom or kitchen please only flush the three Ps – pee, poo and paper.
If you really need to call us, please use the following numbers:
24 Hour Emergency Helpline 0344 346 2020* - for emergencies with your water or sewerage supply.
Accounts Helpline 0344 346 1010* - for a query about your account. Opening hours are 9am - 5pm Monday to Friday. Saturdays 9am - 12pm
Relay UK (NGT): Dial 18001 before the helpline number
Minicom: 0800 169 9965
*03 numbers are charged at standard rates and will be included in any free minutes in a mobile or landline phone contract.