Following the hottest of summers, there has been talk of notorious ‘hosepipe bans’ being put into effect. It is not usually the case that we go so long without rain in this country – drought just isn’t a reality here like it is in other parts of the world. But things are rapidly changing. This climate isn’t what it used to be. Weather has become more unpredictable. Things aren’t as we remember.
The hosepipe ban is a practice to reduce water – it’s debatable if this measure is 100% effective, but the basic intention is to save as much water as possible, thus preventing the local supply from running completely dry. There are several rules involving the refraining of using excess water for ‘unnecessary’ pursuits.
Northern Ireland has already put a total hosepipe ban into effect across the entire country. Therefore it seems likely that if the heatwave continues bans may roll out to other parts of the country too. If a ban is put into effect, expect these rules to come into play.
Water firms may vary the rules depending on the circumstances and the area you live in, 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 your garden or plants
- Clean your car or motorbike
- Clean your home’s walls or windows
- Clean paths, patios or other outdoor surfaces
- Filling a pond
- Cleaning a boat
The law also states that “drawing water for domestic recreational use”, is also prohibited – which could mean virtually anything involving lots of water (even water guns or balloons) if someone decides to be unscrupulous.
You could be fined up to £1000 if your regional water firm bans any of the above uses of water, and if you are caught or reported to be breaking these rules. However, the company may issue you a warning first, and usually the only way they find out is via neighbours reporting neighbours.
However for gardeners there’s a bit of an upside – you can still fill a watering can and use it on plants. It’s a lot easier and less water consuming to water plants during the evening, and you can also use excess water from a bath that would otherwise be drained to fill watering cans in an emergency.