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  • Writer's pictureChris Jackson

What To Do With Your Garden During A Hosepipe Ban

Water companies are urging us to limit how much water we use as fear of another hosepipe ban looms. Breaching a hosepipe ban can cost you a fine of £1,000.

Here's what you need to know to save water:

This years heat wave has put a lot of pressure on our water supplies and some areas of the U.K. have been asked not to use hosepipes or sprinklers already.

There is a yellow weather warning in place from the Met Office regarding thunderstorms, but only extremely long periods of rain will now improve the situation.

If a water company wants to impose a ban, it has to give customers plenty of warning by publishing information on its website, and in two or more local newspapers in the affected area.

Water firms may vary the rules depending on the circumstances, but under the law, they are allowed to stop you doing the following (regardless of whether you use a hosepipe, watering can, bucket etc):

  • Filling a paddling pool or swimming pool

  • Filling an ornamental fountain.

Water firms can also stop you using your hosepipe to:

  • Water your garden or plants

  • Clean your car or motorbike

  • Clean your home's walls or windows

  • Clean paths, patios or other outdoor surfaces

  • The law also says "drawing water for domestic recreational use", which could include water balloon fights etc

  • Fill your pond

  • Clean a boat

You could be fined if your water firm bans any of the above and you break these rules.

You can use your watering can to water your plants or clean your car etc rather than using your hosepipe, but your water company may have given advice about this too, even if it can't officially ban this.

You could be fined if your water firm bans any of the above and you break these rules.

How to cut your water usage

  • Water garden plants in the evening. Only water plants by hand, and only water in the evening. Make sure the water goes to the base of the plants, not sprinkled on leaves etc.

  • Water in the evening to avoid evaporation by the sun.

  • Dig moats around plants and shrubs so that water goes to the this area and not running off to a less important area.

  • Mulch the base of your plants, this reduces the evaporation process and suppresses the weeds that will use the water you are providing, with which to grow.

  • Don’t water the grass, it is a waste of water, it will recover and the reduction in water means less cutting too.

  • Consider which plants needs water and only water these, not all plants will need the extra water.

  • Use water from the bath or shower to water non-edible plants. Plants that have been in the ground for a long time don't need water unless they start to look unhappy.

  • Stand pots in something like a grow bag tray and fill the tray to water them all at once from the bottom so they get a good drink.

  • Re-plumb your sink. [Have you] got a double sink, or one with one of those mini drainers in the middle? Re-plumb it so one runs to an outside tank, and drain non-soapy water into it...You'll be amazed at the quantity of perfectly good water you have for the garden.

  • Order free water saving gadgets. Some water companies offer to send customers free devices to help you save water, particularly in the bathroom.

  • Turn off the tap when you shower. After initially wetting yourself, turn off the shower until you are ready to rinse clean.

  • Save your washing up for one wash. Instead of washing up as you go, save it up and do it in one go to minimise the amount of water used.

  • Fix leaky taps. Check your meter's not increasing when you're not using water. If it is, get leaks sorted.

According to some firms are asking you to save water - but haven't put bans in place

While Northern Ireland Water put a hosepipe ban in place on 29 June, a number of other water companies are asking customers to limit their water usage (although they are not officially banning you using your hosepipe):

  • Scottish Water – which supplies all households in Scotland, has told its customers to make sure taps aren't dripping, to use a watering can instead of a hose and to take showers instead of baths.

  • Southern Water – which supplies south east England, has called on customers to refrain from washing cars at home or filling paddling pools. It has also said to take a four minute shower instead of a bath, and use water from a water butt for their gardens.

  • South West Water – which supplies 1.6 million customers in the West Country, has suggested people keep a jug of tap water in the fridge so you don't have to run your tap cold. It also recommends using a washing up bowl using this to water plants.

  • Thames Water – which supplies Greater London, Oxfordshire, and parts of Surrey, is offering free devices to customers to help them save water, such as water efficient shower heads.

  • United Utilities – which supplies households and businesses in north west England, has said it is currently having to supply half a billion litres more than on an average day. It's warning customers that unless they use water more sparingly it may have to bring in a hosepipe ban.

  • Welsh Water – which supplies most of Wales, is giving customers tips such as taking a shower instead of a bath, putting the plug in the basin when washing and use the collected water instead, and not to leave the tap running when brushing their teeth.

If your supplier isn't on the list above, you can also check if your supplier has put any further warnings out. To check who your water supplier is, type your postcode in at states that a spokesperson from the industry body Water UK said: "Thanks to above average rainfall in spring this year, water levels across the UK are in a healthy position – Britain is not about to go into a drought.

"However, demand for water remains extremely high throughout the current heatwave, so water companies are continuing to ask that we use water wisely to ensure that the high level of demand does not have an impact on water pressure."

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