Seven water companies across England have introduced hosepipe. We answer the most common questions about the ban and look at how it will impact your water usage.
After one of the driest years on record, seven water companies across the south and east of England have introduced hosepipe bans to prevent serious water shortages.
With fines of up to £1,000 threatened for those who break the rules it’s important you know if you’re in one of the areas affected.
We explain how to find out if you’re on a housepipe ban and what this means for your water usage so you know exactly where you stand.
The current hosepipe bans in place across England have been implemented by the following water companies:
All these companies cover areas of the UK in drought; you can check the current areas of the UK officially in drought by visiting the Environment Agency website.
Areas of the country in drought that are yet to introduce hosepipe bans include Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, parts of Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire, and west Norfolk.
Water levels are at a much more healthy level in Scotland, Wales and Northern England, with a hosepipe ban highly unlikely in these areas.
To check which water company supplies your water, visit the Consumer Council for Water's website.
In the areas covered by the seven water companies listed above the hosepipe ban is already in force.
This ban started on 5th April, 2012 and at present no end date has been announced.
Hosepipe ban rules are issued under the 2010 Water Use (Temporary Bans) Order and prohibit the following:
You can still water your garden and plants using a watering can or wash your car using a sponge and bucket of water under the ban.
There are a number of hosepipe ban exemptions in place to protect both businesses and people who would otherwise be disadvantaged by the ban.
For example, those that suffer from a disability that qualifies them for a blue badge are exempt, as are certain businesses that rely on a ready water supply, including car washing firms and window cleaners.
There are also special exemptions in place for grass pitches and other surfaces used in national and international sports events.
This is to ensure that the Olympics and Paralympics will be largely unaffected.
However, individual water companies control exactly who and what is exempt from the hosepipe ban in their area, so if you are unsure you should contact your water company directly.
If you are found to be in breach of the temporary use ban in your area you could face a fine of up to £1,000.
No one has actually been fined this amount during previous hosepipe bans as the emphasis has been on encouraging co-operation and self-regulation.
However, while prosecution is a last resort, water companies do encourage their customers to report people who regularly flout the ban so they can visit them and emphasise the importance of abiding by the temporary restrictions.
This really depends on what the weather has in store for the UK over the summer months.
If we have a wet spring and summer the hosepipe ban could soon be lifted as water supplies are replenished.
However, the ban is likely to be in place throughout the summer, with other hosepipe ban areas of the UK possibly introduced if the weather stays dry.
If the weather stays dry there are a number of other measures that water companies could introduce to prevent a severe water shortage.
The most likely action would be to remove many of the exemptions currently in place under the existing hosepipe ban.
If this still doesn’t prove effective water companies can apply for a drought order which will grant them further powers to restrict commercial and business water usage.
Aside from abiding by the hosepipe ban if the area you live in is affected, there are a number of other ways you can cut your water usage and help save water.
For more tips on how to save water around the home, try following our Action Plan: How to save on Utility Bills.