Are you up for the challenge? 

A person uses 150 litres of tap water a day - could you save 5 litres a day?


Water is life…

It’s the good stuff that keeps our rivers flowing and nature thriving. It’s the good stuff we use for drinking, cleaning and cooking. It’s the good stuff for healthy and happy bodies, and minds. And, it’s the good stuff that we can’t live without.


Water is precious. Although there seems plenty of it, we can only use 1% of the Earth's water. During summer we see demand increase by 50 million litres a day, that's the same as supplying two extra cities the size of Exeter. We need every one to play their part to save tap water. We can’t do it alone. Small changes in water use make a big difference.


If every one of our customers saved 5 litres of tap water a day, that would save nearly 10 million litres.


Get involved

Share you top tip to #Save5Litres and you could win a £500 donation to a South West charity of your choice, and a £50 shopping voucher for yourself.

Find out more below.

Why saving tap water matters


Water is vital to our everyday lives and it’s what makes the south west an incredible place to live. We love our water and we want you to enjoy using it. But we need your help to save a little.


Individually we’re using more tap water and as our population continues to increase, we all have a part to play to make sure there's enough to go around. We can’t just rely on the weather because extreme changes in our climate are becoming too frequent. Last April was one of the driest on record, and May was the wettest since 1986. Also, we share our water with the environment so we can't simply take more from our rivers to meet the increase in demand.


From quicker showers, changes in flushing habits to being smarter with water in the garden - whatever your lifestyle there’s lots of simple things you can do to save water.


Our top tips for saving water


Saving water couldn’t be easier.


In the garden:

  • Use a water butt to collect rainwater – it could fill up with water for free 300 times a year
  • Use a watering can to get water where your plants really need it – at their roots and not on foliage
  • It’s best to water plants early in the morning, or in the evening, when it will take longer for it to evaporate
  • Mulch around plants using organic matter such as wood chip or compost. Use stones, gravel or sea shells as a mulch to dress plants in pots. Mulching is marvellous: it deters weeds, improves soil texture and helps soil retain water
  • During dry spells, focus watering on young plants as they establish, vegetable crops and plants growing in pots
  • Place a stick or other marker where you have planted rambling or trailing plants – that way you know you are watering their roots
  • If there is a dry spell, your lawn will not look as lush but it will recover when it rains again. If it needs mowing, set your lawnmower to cut higher and leave clippings where they fall to act as mulch
  • Spending more time in the garden lets you get to know it well – which parts dry out first, which areas hold on to water, what is in shade and when.

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


Get involved - take the pledge


Get involved in The 5 Litres Challenge, share your top tip for saving water and we'll enter you into our competition to win £500 for a South West charity of your choice, and a £50 shopping voucher for yourself. This competition starts 22 May 2022 and will finish 1 September 2022 and we will select 1 winner.

The charity must be located within our service area.



Click here to view the terms and conditions for this competition.


What are we doing to save water?


Our network

We’ve doubled capacity since 1976 and opened two Cornish reservoirs since 2007. We’re also improving, and investing, the connectivity of our network to give more flexibility in supply. As well as this, we have reduced water consumption at our own sites. To ensure we meet our levels of service for customers in the future, we’re currently working in partnership with Bristol Water and Wessex Water to explore opportunities of shared water resources, and we’re investigating new long-term strategic schemes to our supplies to ensure they are resilient to future droughts.


Read our Water Resources Management Plan to find out how we plan to deliver water to our customers long into the future despite the challenges we face in the next 25 years. Our Plan covers both South West Water and Bournemouth Water following the merger in April 2016.



Tackling leaks

We’ve halved leakage levels in our region, and have one of the lowest levels in the industry. We know there’s more work to do. As part of our plans for the future, we’re investing c£50million to help us achieve a further 15% reduction in leakage by 2025. 


We’re building a state-of-the-art training facility for our team and we’ve also formed a new team, dedicated to looking at how we’ll achieve the 15% minimum reduction target. As well as investing in our people and supply chain, we’ve made significant investment in technology. We’re using remote sensing technology. These are acoustic logging devices which are placed on the network and listen for leaks 24/7. We’re also trialling remote video link applications with customers which is helping us diagnose and resolve issues.


Read more about how we're tackling leakage here.



Working with customers

Over 80% of our customers are on water meters. For the majority of our customers saving water not only helps protect our natural environment but also benefits them directly by saving money on their water bill.


We offer a range of free, and subsidised, water-saving products on the Save Water Save Money website. You can order buffaloo bags that save water with every flush, shower and tap inserts that aerate and reduce the amount of water used, shower timers and more. Click here to find out more.


Last year we launched The Water-Saving Community Fund. Our Fund was created to support our local communities with their amazing water-saving projects - big and small -  whether it’s rainwater flushing public loos, drought tolerant gardens, water butts in community allotments, educational displays in schools, or harnessing new technology to change behaviour towards water use. So far, we've supported 22 projects that have resulted in an estimated yearly saving of 59 million litres.


We have also been partnering with social housing providers to address affordability issues and expanded the support measures available to those on low incomes. A key part of this is supporting water-saving behaviour and offering to install water-saving devices within the home.