Hosepipe Ban 2012: Your Questions Answered

by from money.co.uk, Last Updated: 13 November 2014

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.

Where is the hosepipe ban in place?

The current hosepipe bans in place across England have been implemented by the following water companies:

  • Thames Water
  • Southern Water
  • South East Water
  • Anglian Water
  • Sutton and East Surrey Water
  • Veolia Water Central  
  • Veolia Water South East

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.

Which water company supplies my water?

You're not able to switch water company like you can with gas and electricity, instead the water company that supplies water to your home is determined by where you live.

To check which water company supplies your water, visit the Consumer Council for Water's website.

When does the hosepipe ban begin?

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.

What are the hosepipe bans rules?

Hosepipe ban rules are issued under the 2010 Water Use (Temporary Bans) Order and prohibit the following:

  • Watering a garden using a hosepipe (excludes agricultural land, commercial or business use and temporary gardens or community flower displays)
  • Cleaning a private motor-vehicle using a hosepipe – including trailers
  • Watering plants on domestic or other non-commercial premises using a hosepipe
  • Cleaning a private leisure boat using a hosepipe
  • Filling or maintaining a domestic swimming or paddling pool
  • Drawing water, using a hosepipe, for domestic recreational use
  • Filling or maintaining a domestic pond using a hosepipe
  • Filling or maintaining an ornamental fountain
  • Cleaning walls, or windows, of domestic premises using a hosepipe
  • Cleaning paths or patios using a hosepipe
  • Cleaning other artificial outdoor surfaces using a hosepipe

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.

Are there any hosepipe ban exemptions?

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.

Will I be fined if I break the ban?

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.

How long will the ban last?

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.

Could the hosepipe ban go further?

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.

What else can I do to save water?

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.


add your response here

Thanks Martin!
I can go and wash my car now it's been neglected or a few weeks as I was concerned the hosepipe ban affected up here in Scotland.

by serena1, 16 Apr 2012

Try looking at every drop is precious for some more advise they have some great ideas..also sounds silly but using a bucket is no bad plan!

by PeeBee, 19 Oct 2012
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