WTH consistently hot weather this summer, visitors to Burrator Reservoir would have noticed the drastic drop in water levels — now just below half its capacity — but South West Water has reassured people not to worry.

Burrator Reservoir, which supplies water to Plymouth, is currently at 48.5% capacity and more of the dry banks are on show than have been in recent years. A particularly dry year in 1995 saw it dip to just over 20% capacity.

West Devon residents have no need to worry as yet however, as water is supplied to the area by Roadford Lake which is currently at 83% capacity — up on the same time last year when it was just under 70%. And despite the dip in water levels at Burrator, the capacity of all five of South West Water’s largest reservoirs is currently at 81.5% compared with 75.8% this time last year.

But with the heatwave set to continue, South West Water is urging people to use water wisely.

A spokesperson for South West Water said: ‘Our total reservoir storage is 81.5 percent compared to 75.8 percent at this time last year, but with the prolonged dry weather, we are closely monitoring the situation. Demand is higher than normal for this time of year due to the heatwave. 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.’

Rob Scarrott, head of environment for South West Water, said: ‘We’re working hard behind the scenes to meet the increased demand for water during the heatwave. Our customers can 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.’

The company is encouraging people to save water in the garden by using a watering can instead of a hose, watering the garden early morning or evening to reduce evaporation, using a bucket and sponge to clean the car instead of a hose and using any water from your water butt first.

In the house it encourages people to turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, keep a jug of water in the fridge so you don’t have to run the tap cold, use a bowl for washing up/rinsing veg then use this water for plants, have a shower instead of a bath, only use the dishwasher of washing machine when you have a full load and only fill the kettle with as much water as you need.

Pictures by James Bird.