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.
Currently, we're treating and pumping an additional 50 million litres a day, that's the same as supplying two extra cities the size of Exeter. We can’t do it alone. We need everyone to play their part because 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.
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. Demand is currently higher than normal and we need your help to save a little where you can to keep the water flowing for everyone.
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. This year 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.
Whilst our reservoirs are looking healthy and we have plenty of raw water stored, demand for tap water is higher than normal. Currently, we're treating and pumping an additional 50 million litres a day, that's the same as supplying two extra cities the size of Exeter. This means some customers will experience low pressure because there's only so much water we can treat and pump to your homes, schools, businesses and hospitals.
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
What are we doing to save water?
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.
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. In the last two years we’ve doubled the number of leak detection staff and significantly increased the number of Customer Leakage Technicians.
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.
This 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.
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.
Put a bucket in the shower to collect the water while waiting for it to warm up – then use it to water your plants.
A Reid ,
Place any container under the eaves of garden sheds with no gutters and use to water the garden
D Dixon ,
Save watering your plants in the garden by having a good mulch around the roots area
B Elms ,
Use watering cans to water instead of the hose pipe
S Instan ,
Save water from bath to water the garden
E Stimpson ,
If we don't finish a whole bottle of water in a couple of days , what's left goes in the house plants
M Stevens ,
If the water butt is empty and you have to use a hose to fill it make sure all the connections are tight so that there is water escapage.
C Hamilton ,
Keep the water from cooking veggies, let it go cold, then water the plants. Full of good nutrients too!
H Corney ,
Use leftover dog bowl water to water plants.
G Hird ,
Keep all your washing up water to water the garden
M Eveleigh ,
Save up your washing to make sure it’s a full load for washing machine and dishwasher
P Marigold ,
We save water by collecting the initial water from the shower as it warms up, often 1/2 a bucket.
Save rain water where possible in buckets etc for plants
E Snow ,