What can't you do under a hosepipe ban? Check your postcode to see which rules are in place

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

Nearly 30 million people across the UK will be subject to hosepipe bans by the end of this week after one of the driest summers on record.

Yorkshire Water has followed suit in implementing bans, as of August 26, joining Welsh Water, Southern Water and South East Water.

Thames Water, which announced its own ban on Wednesday 17 August, now has its restrictions in place as of August 24 for people across the Thames Valley and London.

South West Water has also enforced a hosepipe ban in Cornwall and some parts of Devon, effective as of Tuesday 23 August, amid the current drought. It is the first time in 26 years that the supplier has introduced this type of restriction.

The measures mean that more than 29.4 million customers across the UK are set to be prohibited from using hosepipes.

In a statement on Wednesday, Thames Water said: "After the driest July on record, and below-average rainfall in 10 of the last 12 months, water levels in our rivers and reservoirs are much lower than usual.

"We have more teams reducing leakage than ever before, working 24/7 to find and fix more than 1,100 leaks every week. The recent heatwaves mean that demand for water is also at record levels.

"We've been working around the clock to supply everyone, and customers have been brilliant at saving water where they can.

"But, with low rainfall forecast for the coming months, we now need to take the next step in our drought plan. Everything we do now will help protect supplies next summer and help the environment."

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 to people found to have broken the rules. It is understood that water companies will be relying on reports from the public to enforce the rules.

Here, we answer all your questions on hosepipe bans, and you can use the search tool below to find out which restrictions are in place in your area.

What can't you do during a hosepipe ban?

If you live in an area subject to a hosepipe ban, you are generally forbidden from using a hosepipe for:

  • Filling a paddling pool or swimming pool

  • Filling a fountain

  • Watering gardens and plants

  • Cleaning cars or other vehicles

  • Cleaning walls or windows

  • Cleaning paths, patios or other outdoor surfaces

  • Filling a pond

  • Cleaning a boat

The restrictions are set out under the Water Use (Temporary Bans) Order 2010.

What can you do during a hosepipe ban?

There are certain situations when using a hosepipe is allowed:

  • Watering plants for sale or commercial use

  • 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 for health and safety reasons

Where are hosepipe bans in place?

  • Southern Water imposed a ban in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight on August 5

  • South East Eater introduced a ban in Kent and Sussex on August 12

  • Welsh Water announced a ban covering Pembrokeshire and part of Camarthenshire from August 19

  • South West Water announced a ban for Cornwall and parts of Devon from August 23

  • Thames Water announced a ban from August 24

  • Yorkshire Water announced a ban from August 26

How much is the fine if you break the rules?

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.

Can you use a watering can?

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.

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

This article is kept updated with the latest information.