Rivers and bathing waters
The quality of the aquatic environment in which we live is a top priority for us. We’ve invested billions of pounds over the last two decades ensuring that we protect and enhance the rivers and coastal waters of the region.
The long term transformation of bathing water quality in our region is largely due to our £2.3 billion investment which has seen over 200 raw sewage discharges stopped and modern sewage treatment provided in over 40 major engineering projects.
As a result our region can now boast some of the finest bathing waters and beaches in the whole of Europe, attracting record levels of tourists and investment.
We are also committed to keep beach users informed about how our discharges affect bathing waters. You can get real-time bathing water alerts for your favourite beaches from our award-winning BeachLive website.
River water quality is the key focus of our Upstream Thinking Programme which is working with farmers and landowners to keep pollutants out of the rivers above our water treatment works. This work has the potential to benefit our rivers all the way down to the sea and also has benefits for water storage.
Downstream Thinking is aimed at preventing sewer flooding and pollution by building sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) in towns and cities. The approach is also about working together with other agencies responsible for flooding to find whole catchment solutions to problem flooding areas.
How we can help
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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
How often will you read my meter and send me a bill?
We aim to read your meter every 6 months. When we’re not able to read your meter when your bill is due, we’ll estimate your meter reading based on your past use. If you’re on a payment plan, you’ll receive 2 bills a year. If you’re not on a payment plan you’ll receive 4...
How can I avoid exposure to lead?
The most effective way is to replace any lead pipework, solder joints or fittings. You’ll need to speak to a plumber. Approved plumbers can be found through WaterSafe or on the Water Industry Approved Plumber Scheme WIAPS. Approved plumbers may be able to advise and...
Do I qualify for the £50 Government contribution?
You will receive a £50 reduction per year, if you match the following criteria, which was set by the Government: All household customers with a South West Water account (that do not pay Business rates) Any household customer who pays for their water via a 3rd party...
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.
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.
How do I order a water butt?
You can order a water butt from the specialist savewatersavemoney. By installing a water butt directly to your gutter downpipe, you will collect rainwater from the roof and can then use it for watering plants, topping up a pond or washing your car. On average every year...
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: Annual water use in Cubic Metres CM3 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 can I dispose of fat, oil or grease?
The best way to get rid of fat or food without pouring it down the sink is to dry wipe plates and pans with kitchen roll before washing them and dispose of it in the bin. Leftover cooking fat should be emptied into a container (such as a fat trap) for it to cool and...
What causes sewer flooding?
Sewer flooding can be caused by: Blocked pipes Extreme weather causing prolonged rainfall Insufficient land drainage Surcharges from private sewers or drains You can find out more information here about the causes of sewer flooding.
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...