The Continuing Drought in West Devon

It became clear last week that South West Water (SWW) won’t be lifting the current hosepipe ban here in West Devon for quite some time. As a result of a process that began on August 1st, the hosepipe ban in Cornwall will be lifted on September 25th, 8 weeks later.

South West Water’s next decision point for the Roadford Water Resource Zone is later this week, on September 1st. SWW haven’t released a set of reservoir water level graphs for the week ending August 27th yet. However they have published this summary infographic today:

Here are some pictures we took earlier this week at Roadford Lake, showing what the current water level of 55% looks like in reality:

Comparing this week’s water level with last week’s graph it is clear that the “Decision point for TUB removal” on September 1st is well below the current level:

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Bank Holiday Sewage in the South West’s Seas

We could see it coming from many miles away:

Here is August Bank Holiday Friday’s first sewage pollution incident of the long weekend around the long coastline of South West England, courtesy of South West Water’s “Water Fit Live” map:

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The South West Water Hosepipe Ban’s First Birthday

In the summer of 2022 South West Water announced their first hosepipe ban of the current drought on August 15th:

From 00:01am on 23 August 2022, customers who get their water from us in Cornwall and a small part of Devon will not be allowed to use a hosepipe.

It’s the first time in 26 years but we’ve been left with no other choice. We need to have a hosepipe ban now to protect our precious water.

On April 18th 2023 an extension to the temporary use ban was announced:

South West Water is urging customers to reduce non-essential water usage by extending the Temporary Use Ban, otherwise known as a hosepipe ban, which is already in place in Cornwall and parts of North Devon, to other parts of Devon. 

The restrictions are being introduced to protect supplies following lower than average levels of rainfall last year and throughout February. 

The hosepipe ban will apply to customers in South West Water’s Roadford supply area and will come into effect from Tuesday 25 April 2023 at 00:01.  

While South West Water has taken every precaution to prevent further restrictions being required, Cornwall, Devon and the Isles of Scilly remain officially in drought status as declared by the Environment Agency.    

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.

It’s raining here in West Devon yet again this morning, as the first anniversary of the imposition of the continuing hosepipe ban rapidly approaches:

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West Devon Boatbuilder Sails the Northwest Passage

In 2012 Will Stirling from Buckland Monachorum literally and metaphorically launched his wooden cutter Integrity at the Plymouth Mayflower Marina. According to Classic Boat magazine:

The 62 ft / 18.9 m (LOS)  larch on oak, 1880s-inspired, gentleman’s yacht is due to debut at the British Classic Yacht Club regatta in July. Will has spent two years building Integrity which represents a departure from the replica Pilot Cutters that have been the standard wooden replica yachts from various British boatbuilders in recent years.

Our first impressions were a bit: wow! The lines of the 7 berth yacht are very sweet on the eye. She seems destined for the Med regattas or maybe the Caribbean where she would not look out of place among her ‘original’ sisters. Classic yacht broker Barney Sandeman (selling her) agreed that her £300,00 (sic) price tag was probably a bargain, but Stirling’s view is that as a first yacht of her type she acts as a prototype for what he is trying to achieve. He was joined by four boatbuilders who had helped him on the project.

However, according to a more recent article in Classic Boat, written by Will Stirling himself, thoughts of the Caribbean couldn’t have been further from his mind:

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A Trip to Meldon Reservoir

A fine evening was forecast yesterday, so we jumped into Lisa, our trusty albeit ageing Nissan LEAF electric vehicle, and headed for the car park at Meldon Reservoir:

Leaving the dam for later we left Lisa in the car park and set off down the River Okement valley. Here’s what we found once we eventually reached the river:

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