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No water restrictions likely as South West prepares for bumper summer

image depicting Roadford Reservoir
Roadford Reservoir
South West Water today confirmed its reservoirs are ready to cope with the millions expected to head west this summer and it expects no water restrictions for the 17th consecutive year.

That's good news ahead of the first May Bank Holiday which tourism chiefs are hoping will be the first of many sun-baked weekends. Eight million tourists visit the region every year raising the demand for water by up to a third during the busiest weeks.

Total storage in the region's 21 reservoirs now stands at  94.7% - with five completely full - compared to 88.5% at this time last year. Ground water sources which supply the majority of East Devon are also at an all-time high.

Two converted china clay pits on Bodmin Moor  - Park and Stannon Lakes - are now the South West's fourth and fifth biggest reservoirs and ensuring Cornwall's water supply will be secure for generations to come. Since the infamous 1976 drought, regional storage capacity has been quadrupled and dozens of connecting pipes have made it easier to move water around the 10,000 mile long main network.

Head of Water Resources Neil Whiter, said: "In days gone by it was not uncommon for householders to have to put up with restrictions such as hosepipe bans and our research still shows some customers assume there are restrictions elsewhere in the region even when we are in better position than many other regions.

"So we want to say clearly, we have not needed to introduce restrictions since 1996 and we fully expect to continue that record through 2013.

"No-one likes to see water wasted, because we take great pride in delivering good safe water to our customers. We have targeted bursts in our network so  that we are now an industry leader in tackling leakage. Thousands of customers have also played a vital role in installing meters and water-saving devices so that average demand has fallen by 15% since 1995 despite a population increase.

"Reducing water use helps the region but it also helps you by reducing your bill if you on a meter. Water butts are a great way to water the garden and wash the car, and there are many other ways you can cut water use in the home."

Visit Cornwall Chief Executive Malcolm Bell commented: "This is good news for the region's number one industry just before what we expect to be a really busy and sunny weekend. Now there's no excuse this summer not to come and sample the region's wonderful beaches, food and hospitality."

Free water-saving devices and advice on using water wisely are available at www.southwestwater.co.uk/freekit

Notes to editors

1.We have no plans to impose any water restrictions or to apply for Drought Permits or Drought Orders this year.

2. No restrictions since 1996 - what's changed?
Since 1996:
•We have reduced leakage from our network of pipes by 40%
•72.5% of domestic customers now have meters (compared with 8% in 1995)
•The region is using 14.8% less water.
We have also invested heavily in the region:
•We have increased the capacity of our water treatment works
•We have improved the efficiency of our works so we use less water in our treatment processes
•We have improved our ability to move water around the region
•We have invested in pump storage schemes at Wimbleball and Colliford
•We have two new reservoirs in Cornwall, Park and Stannon.

Published: 2 May 2013

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