Is there a hosepipe ban in the UK? The short answer (in July 2023) is yes – in some areas.
Read on for more details on what a hosepipe ban is, how to avoid breaking the ban and which UK water suppliers currently have a ban in place.
What is a hosepipe ban?
A hosepipe ban is a temporary restriction on what domestic customers can use their home water for. The restrictions are based on the Water Use (Temporary Bans) Order of 2010.
The bans are used to limit water wastage and high-use activities during droughts. When reservoir and water storage levels drop low, water suppliers will prioritise essential water use to protect reserves.
Breaking a hosepipe ban will usually result in a warning for a first offence. Depending on the severity and number of offences, your water supplier can fine you up to £1000.
What can’t you do during a hosepipe ban?
During a hosepipe ban, you may not use a hose, sprinkler, automatic irrigation system or similar to do the following:
- Water a garden or allotment
- Wash a private car, van or taxi
- Wash a private or leisure boat
- Water plants on non-commercial premises
- Fill a home swimming pool, paddling pool or hot tub
- Fill a pond, unless it’s a home for fish
- Fill a fountain, unless it is needed to keep wildlife or fish healthy
- Clean your home windows, walls, paths, patios or other artificial outdoor surfaces
You can do any of these things with a bucket of water or a watering can – the ban doesn’t restrict these at all.
You’re able to use a hosepipe while under a ban under circumstances. For example, you can water plants that are for sale and sports fields (though only the active areas), wash a public service vehicle like a bus, top up a fishpond or wash windows for health reasons.
Is there a hosepipe ban in my area?
There’s currently a hosepipe ban in place for South East Water customers in Kent and Sussex. This is regularly reviewed, with the next review due on July 14th. Check your supplier website for updates on the status of the ban.
There’s also currently a ban in place for South West water customers in the Colliford and Roadford supply areas in Cornwall and parts of Devon. You can see if you’re affected with the post-code checker here.
You can also keep up to date with every water supplier’s bans here and check if your area is affected later in the summer.
Will there be more hosepipe bans this summer?
It’s very likely that there will be more hosepipe bans for at least some of the UK this summer.
In 2022, there were bans at some point for customers of Southern Water, South West Water, South East Water, Thames Water, Welsh Water and Yorkshire Water.
Following a dry spring, it’s expected that the same areas will see a ban in late July or August 2023.
Read more about water in the UK: