(C) Manfred Gottschalk/Getty Images
Cornwall, England – Manfred Gottschalk/Getty Images
Devon and Cornwall residents have been urged to cut shower time to ensure there is enough water as the counties prepare for a summer influx of holidaymakers.
South West Water (SWW) wants people in West Country counties to try to save five litres of water a day in order to maintain the levels of reservoirs.
The company has cited soaring temperatures, rising numbers of visitors and more people moving to the region as some of the reasons behind the issue, after staycations to coastal resorts boomed during the pandemic.
It comes as many parts of Britain are set to enjoy a heatwave next week, with temperatures consistently hitting 25 degrees even in the usually cooler South West England.
Officials at SWW have warned residents that “it’s been a dry start to the summer and we need your help to save water where you can”, with demand for taps “higher than normal”.
The company said that if each of its two million customers saved five litres of water a day, that would save a total of 10 million litres. The average person uses about 150 litres a day, SWW said.
Lisa Gahan, SWW director responsible for water resources, said: “It’s been very dry over the last 12 months and while reservoir levels are good we have had lots of dry spells.
“More people are coming down on holiday and more people are living here. We just want to make sure there’s enough water for everyone to enjoy.”
Outlining a series of tips for locals to cut back on their usage, she said that if residents spend one minute less in the shower, this would save eight litres of water.
And if the people of Devon and Cornwall turn off a tap one minute earlier, they can save six litres.
Meanwhile, hose pipes used 1,000 litres an hour, “so simple things like putting hoses away make a massive difference”, Ms Gahan added.
Other tips include watering plants early in the morning, or in the evening, when it will take longer for it to evaporate; having a shower instead of a bath; turning off taps while brushing teeth; and keeping a jug of water in the fridge to avoid having to run a tap until it turns cold.
At least 200,000 holidaymakers can be in Cornwall at any one time, according to tourist board data, and in the May half-term last year, 400,000 trips were expected to be made in a single week.
As some of Britain’s most popular destinations, tensions have often flared between residents of Devon and Cornwall and an influx of visitors, including over the issue of second homes.
Ms Gahan warned residents that the region has not imposed any restrictions on water usage since the infamous drought of 1976, which saw households go without tap water for hours every day and parts of Devon go 45 days without a single drop of rain.
Surface water sources, such as reservoirs and rivers, provide about 90 per cent of the region’s water supply and it has come close to hosepipe bans in recent years.
“If we are careful we can have another year without any restrictions”, Ms Gahan told the BBC.
SWW’s website is offering several free items for saving water such as bags in cisterns to reduce the amount of water used in a flush and shower regulators.