South West Water hosepipe ban extended to most of Devon

The hosepipe ban will apply to customers in South West Water’s Roadford supply area, including Plymouth, Barnstaple, Tavistock and Torbay. Credit: PA

Large parts of Devon have been hit with a hosepipe ban to help replenish water supplies.

South West Water has warned water levels across Devon and Cornwall remain under immense and increasing pressure after reservoir levels fell to their lowest recorded level last year.

It comes despite the wettest March on record across England and Wales.

The ban, which will come into effect from 25 April, will affect around 390,000 homes in Devon, including Plymouth, Barnstaple, Tavistock and Torbay.

People could face fines of up to £1,000 if they're caught breaking the new rule.

The main reservoir at Colliford had a water level of 48.9% at the end of February.

The restrictions to reduce non-essential water usage come after below average levels of rainfall last year and throughout February.

There has already been a ban in place for Cornwall and parts of North Devon since August.

Reservoir levels fell to their lowest recorded level last year and storage at Roadford Lake is currently around 27% lower than it was at the same time in 2022 - the equivalent to nearly 3,800 Olympic-sized swimming pools. 

Cornwall, Devon and the Isles of Scilly remain officially in drought status, as declared by the Environment Agency.

South West Water has encouraged customers to use tap water from a bucket or watering can, or use water that is not sourced from taps such as grey water, rainwater from a water butt, or a private borehole.

David Harris, South West Water’s Drought and Resilience Director, said: “We know that last year and into this year our customers have made a real effort to be responsible in their water use and we thank them for that.

"It has made a difference and we ask them to continue saving water whenever they can."

“Despite our interventions and investments, and the fantastic efforts of our customers, the region’s water resources are under immense and increasing pressure.

"Introducing a hosepipe ban is the responsible thing for us to do and going into the summer period is the right time to do it.” 

The temporary use ban will not apply to blue badge holders or those on South West Water’s priority register. Businesses and farmers are unaffected.