People in Devon and Cornwall told told to ration water as reservoir levels drop

131022 drought farmer plymouth west country
Credit: ITV West Country

People across the South West are being told to ration water as the region’s reservoirs are still at a crisis level and a prolonged dry spell is on its way.

South West Water (SWW) said reservoir levels are “exceptionally low” and continuing to go down. The company said customers need to do more to save water to avoid further restrictions.

In August, SWW introduced a “hosepipe ban”, officially known as a temporary use ban, was introduced by South West Water in Cornwall and parts of North Devon.

The South West is in the grip of its fourth driest period since records began more than 130 years ago - and the water company is saying people need to do more to cut the amount of water they use.

Jo Ecroyd, SWW’s drought director, said: “Reservoir levels across Cornwall and parts of Devon remain exceptionally low and continue to drop, and will remain so for the foreseeable future without sustained rainfall following a prolonged period of drought.

"We are asking customers today to redouble their efforts and do more to save water to avoid further restrictions and protect the region’s precious water resources. It is essential that people living in, or visiting the South West do all they can now to reduce the amount of water they use.

“The South West has experienced its fourth driest period since records began more than 130 years ago alongside the hottest temperatures ever recorded in the region this summer adding more pressure on water resources.

"We know our customers have worked hard to reduce their usage already, but we are asking everyone to continue to work together to protect the water in the South West.

“We are continuing to work around the clock to fix more leaks across our network than ever before and provide customers with the necessary advice and tools to cut their usage.

South West Water introduced a hosepipe ban in August.

"The Met Office isn’t currently forecasting significant and sustained rain into the Autumn months, so we are expecting continued and serious pressure on reservoir levels this Winter.

“We are taking all measures possible to protect vital water supplies, which may include further restrictions in line with our drought plan.

"Working closely with the Environment Agency, we are exploring all options and taking all necessary steps to minimise the risk to water supplies - especially in those areas where temporary restrictions have already been applied, if the prolonged dry weather continues and demand doesn’t decrease.”

SWW stressed it has nearly doubled the number of leaks it is fixing, at about 2,500 leaks in August.

The company said: “Customers are helping, reporting more leaks than ever before, up by nearly 50%. And if customers find a leak on their property, we will now fix it for free if they get in touch, via our website or by giving us a call.”