Hosepipe ban next month: 5 ‘non-essential’ water uses that could see you fined £1,000

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The Met Office has revealed that July 2022 has been the driest in England since 1911, and with more hot weather set to arrive in the coming weeks, hosepipe bans throughout August are likely. Already, Southern Water has issued a hosepipe ban to customers in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight from August 5.

Dr Alison Hoyle, director of Risk and Compliance at Southern Water, said: “We haven’t taken this decision lightly and we know the Temporary Use Ban will have an impact on our customers.”

According to the Government, this could be the beginning of several drought measures put in place ahead of the next predicted heatwave.

Forecaster Nick Finnis has since warned that “widespread hosepipe bans” for households could be brought in as early as next month as more extreme hot weather is on the way.

However, it isn’t just hosepipes that Britons are unable to use once a strict hosepipe ban is in place.

In fact, there are a number of “non-essential” ways of using water that could land homeowners in trouble.

The legal response to breaking a hosepipe ban is outlined in the Water Industry Act 1991 section 76, as amended by the Flood and Water Management Act 2010.

Rule-breaker could be subject to a fine of up to £1,000 or be prosecuted in criminal court.

However, most people will be issued a written warning from their water company before more severe action is carried out.

What is banned during a hosepipe ban?

Watering your garden

The most well-known restriction in place during a hosepipe ban is the use of your hosepipe to water your lawn and garden.

This could be unhappy news to green-thumbed Britons who have been working hard to keep their lawns and plants happy and healthy this summer.

This includes using certain irrigation systems.

However, residents can water their garden if they use mains water from a bucket or watering can.

Any water not sourced from the mains, including rainwater collected, is also acceptable.

According to irrigation expert and director of Easy Garden Irrigation, Sean Lade, certain types of drip irrigation systems may also be used to water plants.

He said: “Having read the exemptions, we are pleased to report that the use of an approved drip or trickle irrigation system fitted with a PRV (pressure-reducing valve) and a water timer is allowed.

“I’m here to inform you that installing a drip irrigation system is a perfectly legal way to keep watering your plants during a hosepipe ban. Drip irrigation systems have been exempt from hosepipe bans in the past and will more than likely be exempt from any future ones.

“This is because drip irrigation systems are incredibly efficient in water distribution.

“You could reduce your water consumption by 90 percent compared to using a hosepipe.

“The only stipulation water authorities provide is that you’re on a metered water supply, have a timing device to control when the irrigation system turns on and off, and drip onto or under the soil.

“They must not spray, sprinkle, jet or mist.”

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Washing your car

Washing your car using a hosepipe might be a fast and efficient way to get the job done, but under a hosepipe ban, it is restricted.

Once again, residents can wash their cars using buckets from mains or collected water supply.

Filling or maintaining a water feature or ornamental pond

While summer is the perfect time to get your water feature going, unfortunately during a hosepipe ban you can not fill one up.

This is with the exception of collected rainwater, used water from other sources or with a buck using mains water.

Filling or maintaining a domestic swimming pool or paddling pool

As the heatwave arrives, many people will be pulling out the paddling pool or, if they’re lucky enough, taking a splash in their own swimming pool.

However, filling or maintaining any pool using a hosepipe will be banned.

That could mean several trips back and forth with a bucket to get the job done.

Cleaning the outside of your house

Once again, if you plan on spritzing down your driveway, paving stones or exterior walls with a hosepipe, you may need to come up with a secondary plan of action.

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