Dry weather update – Local water resources

I have recently received the below update from Dr Stephen Bird, Managing Director of South West Water, regarding water resources in this hot weather. 


Dear Sarah

As you will have seen from local and national media coverage, there has been concern regarding the impact of the hot weather on water supplies, including the planned introduction of a hosepipe ban in the North West of England. In light of this I thought it would be useful to provide you with an update of the situation in the South West and how we are responding to the weather.

Water is always a precious resource and we encourage our customers to use it wisely, whatever the weather. This not only helps the environment but also helps to keep customer bills down. Our total reservoir storage is 78.4% compared to 74.3% at this time last year, but with the prolonged dry weather we are closely monitoring the situation and making preparations should it continue.

Demand is higher than normal for this time of year. During hot weather we can see demand increase by around 100 megalitres (100,000,000 litres) a day compared to normal. We have increased production at our 29 water treatment works to meet this demand but during peak periods some customers may experience changes in their water pressure.

We are asking our customers to help ensure there is plenty to go round by using water wisely and minimising wastage, particularly in the garden, which typically accounts for much of the additional demand we see during hot weather.

Since 1996, the last year the South West Water region had water restrictions, we have reduced leakage from our pipe network by 40%. We have invested heavily to secure supplies and been innovative in ways of increasing our reservoir storage, for example converting two former clay pits in Cornwall at Park and Stannon. We have also invested in pump storage schemes at Wimbleball and Colliford to improve resilience. Water consumption per household is lower than it was, with 80% of our customers now on a meter compared to just 8% in 1995.

I will keep you up-to-date if the dry weather continues, but in the meantime I would be grateful if you would share the water saving messages that we are carrying on social media. There are also water saving tips on our website, which your constituents may find useful.

Yours sincerely,


Dr Stephen Bird

Managing Director, South West Water