Hosepipe ban UK: Is there a ban in your area and what are the rules for watering your garden?

hosepipe ban area uk 2022 london hampshire kent wales essex surrey thames water southern water uk map rules watering garden regulations save conserve water climate change protect environment planet - Daniel Jones/Daniel Jones

hosepipe ban area uk 2022 london hampshire kent wales essex surrey thames water southern water uk map rules watering garden regulations save conserve water climate change protect environment planet – Daniel Jones/Daniel Jones

After the driest July in southern England on record, a hosepipe ban has formally been declared for those living in Kent and Sussex and south Wales.

South East Water announced the new water restrictions, which will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

Southern Water had already put regulations in place with a hosepipe ban for people living in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight from August 5.

According to modelling released by Southern Water, thousands of households could remain under restrictions until October as the company waits for river levels to return.

Welsh Water became the third to announce a hosepipe ban for parts of southern Wales that is expected to last “weeks”.

The ban will cover most of Pembrokeshire and a small part of Carmarthenshire, beginning on August 19. Welsh Water said it was under mounting pressure to maintain supplies after low rainfall during the driest year since 1976.

Millions of households across the south of England could be hit with hosepipe bans within days after the Environment Secretary urged more water companies to introduce urgent restrictions.

Those living in areas with a ban will not be allowed to use a hosepipe to water their garden, clean their car, fill up a swimming or paddling pool and other similar activities.

A fine could be issued, should someone be found to have broken the rules. It is understood that water companies will be relying on reports from the public to enforce the rules.

With the south-east set to receive hot, sunny and humid weather over the next week, and the forecast for September expected to be similar, the bans look to remain in place for a significant time period. We have all your hosepipe ban queries answered below.

Where is there a hosepipe ban and when will they come in?

Southern customers in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are now under a hosepipe ban, as of August 5. South East customers in Kent and Sussex will join from August 12. Pembrokeshire and a small part of Carmarthenshire will begin theirs on August 19.

George Eustice, the Environment Secretary, has called for the introduction of more urgent hosepipe bans across the country as fears of further drought grow.

Why is there a hosepipe ban?

South East England recorded just eight per cent of average rainfall in July, with weather conditions expected to continue being hot, humid and dry for August and September.

How much is the fine if you break the rules of the hosepipe ban?

Those found to have broken the rules are most likely to receive a warning from their water company. In the most extreme cases, a court can impose a fine of up to £1,000.

What can you use your water for under the hosepipe ban?

There are some stipulations to the hosepipe ban, meaning that while activities among people’s daily routines might be prohibited, others are allowed.

  • While you cannot water your own garden, plants for sale or commercial use are not restricted.

  • Watering sports fields – but only the “active” parts, not the entire ground

  • Washing a “public service vehicle” like a coach or bus

  • Filling pools, ponds or fountains where fish or other animals are being kept

  • Cleaning walls, windows, paths or patios with a hosepipe for health and safety reasons

Can you use a watering can?

Amid the news that people with newly laid lawns could still use hosepipes to water the grass, it’s no surprise that there is uncertainty as to whether you can use a watering can during this ban.

Gardeners will be glad to hear that yes, you can use your watering can. According to hosepipeban.org.uk, “under previous hosepipe and sprinkler bans the use of watering cans, buckets and other water carrying devices has been perfectly acceptable for watering the garden, or for instance washing your car.”

However, the website advises checking with your local water supplier for specific rules.

The logic behind this decision is that hosepipes tend to be left on for long periods of time – therefore wasting water. By restricting yourself to filling up a bucket or a watering can, you limit the risk of using too much water.

Where else could face a hosepipe ban?

Thames and South West told The Telegraph that they may need to bring in restrictions in the coming weeks. Others in the south, including Portsmouth and Wessex, said they were not currently considering any restrictions.

Anglian Water has said its reservoirs are 80 per cent full but it is “watching river levels very closely” with more dry weather forecast.

How can you help save water?

If you’re looking to help save water amid the dry summer season, there are a few things you can do as part of your daily routine:

  • Take shorter showers

  • Don’t wash your car – be proud to keep it dirty

  • Don’t wash your hair every day, or use dry shampoo

  • Use the same glass, mug, or cup all day

  • Let your lawn go brown, and don’t cut it too short because it dries out more quickly

  • Throw a light fabric, or put up a sunshade, over your plants

  • Install a water butt

Will areas in the north be affected?

The north of England is expected to receive rain over the next few days, leading water companies there to be hopeful of avoiding having to implement restrictions.

Although temporary flood warnings have been issued in parts of the Lake District this week, officials are not certain that there will be enough rainfall across the country to reduce the need for further hosepipe bans across summer.

This article is kept updated with the latest information.