South-West Water currently has a ban in place across Cornwall and parts of Devon, while South East Water will introduce a ban for 2.2 million customers across Kent and Sussex from 26 June.
The move comes after a “drought” that has affected supplies of treated clean water – with the company saying it had “no choice” but to impose the ban.
Although no other place in the UK is currently banning it, that could change if the hot, dry weather continues.
Of course, there’s always confusion about what’s and isn’t allowed when hosing – and since it’s legally binding, it pays to know what’s okay and what might get you in trouble.
Here’s a guide to help you get started.
What not to do during a hose ban?
During a hose ban, the use of a hose connected to your drinking water network is severely restricted.
“Hosing pipe” also means “anything designed, adapted or used to serve the same purpose as a hose” – this includes things like sprinklers or many types of irrigation systems.
In general, people are prohibited from using a hose to:
- Fill a paddling pool or swimming pool
- Fill a fountain
- Water your garden or plants with a hose
- Clean your car or motorcycle with a hose
- Clean the walls or windows of your home with a hose
- Clean paths, patios, or other outdoor surfaces with a garden hose
- Fill in a pond
- Clean a boat
People are also forbidden from scooping up water with a hose for “home leisure use”.
The limitations are listed below the Water Use (Temporary Bans) Order 2010.
If you do something that is not allowed and get caught, you could face a fine Fine of up to £1,000 – but you could be lucky and get a written warning instead.
Also note that there are some exceptions to the ban that may apply to you.
What can you do during a hose ban?
First, you can technically use a hose during a ban if it’s not connected to your main water supply, i.e. if you have a rain barrel (which stores rainwater year-round).
South West Water says on its website, “You can still use a hose for non-grid water like gray water, rainwater from a rain barrel, or water from private boreholes, man-made lakes or wells.”
Your region may also have specific exceptions to some of the items listed above.
South East Water adds that its customers can water a lawn that has been planted in the last 28 days – just make sure you water it during off-peak hours (8am to 10am, then 5pm to 9pm).
It states: “You may hose water newly laid turf in home gardens for 28 days after planting/laying to aid in establishment.”
“To do this, you must be able to prove the time when the garden work was completed.” Failure to comply and watering for more than 28 days will be considered a violation of the provisions of the temporary ban on use.”
People can still water their gardens with a bucket of water or a watering can.
Garden ponds can only be filled to protect the fish or aquatic animals living in the pond.
In general, people with disabilities – especially Blue Badge holders – can be exempted from complying with the ban altogether.
South West Water, for example, has pointed this out his FAQs: “If you are a Blue Badge holder, using our Watersure rate due to illness or on our Priority Services register, you are exempt.”
Note, however, that these exceptions may vary slightly depending on your region. Farms, allotments, parks, schools, companies, etc. also have other special features to take into account.
Ultimately, it is up to you to check and follow the rules of your local water company.
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