Hosepipe bans – what you should and shouldn’t do

Hose pipe

In Consumer Advice, Water, Water efficiency

With a hosepipe ban recently being announced by South West Water, the spotlight is back on household water use – and, if last year is anything to go by, other water companies could follow suit. Here, Kevin Wellman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering outlines the dos and don’ts if there’s a hosepipe ban in your area.

Water is a precious resource, and it is becoming increasingly necessary to make concerted efforts towards water conservation. Hosepipe bans are temporary measures employed by water companies to help manage local supplies. Activities involving hosepipes are usually non-essential. The ban helps to reduce the load on the network at times when there is increased demand and lower than normal supply levels.

The don’ts

If your area is impacted, you cannot use a hosepipe that is connected to the mains water supply. This means a hosepipe connected to any tap (inside or out) that you use within your home or garden, which is fed from the mains. Adapted hosepipe systems such as irrigation systems, garden sprinklers, pressure washers and the like are also included in the ban.

This means you cannot use a hosepipe to:

  • Fill a padding pool, swimming pool, hot tub or decorative pond
  • Maintain a water fountain
  • Clean residential windows, walls, patios or artificial outdoor surfaces
  • Clean your car
  • Water plants and lawns.

 The dos

  • You can use a hosepipe to protect the general welfare of animals e.g. fill water buckets or ensure there’s enough water in the pond for your fish.
  • You can use a hose in an emergency, for unavoidable health and safety reasons.
  • While you can’t use a hosepipe, there is no ban on watering the garden. You can use a watering can or bucket to water plants instead.
  • Unless the Water Company brings in further restrictions, hosepipe bans are primarily aimed at domestic use. Agricultural and commercial businesses are allowed to use hosepipes. The CIPHE does advise that businesses use water wisely and act to reduce any water waste.

What happens if you break the ban?

You can be fined up to £1000, so ditch the hose and stick to the rules.

How can I find out if there is a ban in my area?

Your Water Company can give you full information on the rules in your area. Look at your water supply bill if you are not sure who to contact, or if you are in England and Wales you can find your local water supplier at Water UK.

How do I save money on my water bills?

Want to save money on your water bills or cut your water waste? Our top tips for the home and garden will show you what to do. Reduce your water waste now.