What are the hosepipe ban exemptions in England?

·Breaking News Editor, Yahoo News UK
·4-min read
A person uses a hosepipe to water a lawn in Basingstoke, Hampshire. The first hosepipe ban of the year begins on Friday in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. The moves to curb water use come after England has seen the driest eight-month period from November 2021 to July since 1976, when much of the country struggled in extreme drought. Picture date: Thursday August 4, 2022.
Hosepipe bans have been brought in across England, but what are the exemptions to the rules? (PA)

Months of dry conditions have seen hosepipe bans declared across the country, in an effort to conserve water.

Last month saw a record-breaking heatwave and the driest July in records dating back to 1836 for south-east and central southern England.

For England as a whole, last month was the driest since 1935, Met Office figures show.

Last week a drought was declared in the South West, parts of southern and central England, and the East of England after they faced months without rain.

Watch: Couple with UK's best garden share tips to help keep gardens alive

What are the hosepipe ban exemptions?

Under a hosepipe ban, the use of a hosepipe connected to a mains water supply is restricted, including "anything designed, adapted or used to serve the same purpose as a hosepipe", including sprinklers or an irrigation system.

However, you can use a hosepipe if it is not connected to a mains water supply – like a water butt.

Blue badge holders are also exempt from the ban.

People are still able to water their gardens using a bucket of water, or using a watering can.

Hosepipes are permitted to water food crops at domestic premises or private allotments.

Read more: Hosepipe ban – How much could you be fined for breaking it?

It was also reported earlier this month that hosepipes can still be used to water newly laid turf in gardens for 28 days after planting “to help them establish”.

Each water company has its own rules and regulations, so it's always worth checking with them directly for what the rules are in your area.

South East Water has said exemptions apply if a hosepipe "is required for unavoidable health and safety reasons, such as removing or minimising any risk to human or animal health or safety, or preventing or controlling the spread of causative agents or disease".

Current hosepipe restrictions in England. (PA)
Current hosepipe restrictions in England. (PA)

And while the filling of swimming pools, paddling pools, or ponds is largely banned, South West Water says it is permitted if the pool is used for medical or veterinary treatment.

There is also an exemption if a fountain has religious significance.

Ponds, pools or ornamental fountains are also allowed to be filled so long as it is required for fish in them to remain healthy.

Commercial businesses which use hosepipes in their day-to-day cleaning business operation (for example hand car washing, window cleaning, graffiti removal) are also permitted to continue, so long as it does not include domestic garden watering.

Commercial businesses which use hosepipes to clean cars, boats, or outdoor spaces are also permitted to continue, Thames Water said.

The Brocas grass meadow in Eton, as a summer of hosepipe bans and fire warnings continues, with a heat health alert coming into place across much of the country. Picture date: Tuesday August 9, 2022.
The Brocas grass meadow in Eton, as a summer of hosepipe bans. (PA)

Where are hosepipe bans in place?

London Thames Water became the latest company to announce a ban, with 15 million customers coming under restrictions from 24 August.

Yorkshire Yorkshire Water customers will be impacted by hosepipe bans as the water company will be imposing restrictions on 26 August.

Cornwall and north Devon For the first time in 26 years, a hosepipe ban has been brought in in north Devon. Those in Cornwall who get their water from South West Water will also have a ban come into place from 23 August.

Kent and Sussex South East Water prohibited the use of both hosepipes and sprinklers on 12 August.

Pembrokeshire Welsh Water have issued restrictions on the use of hosepipes in the area which will come into effect at 8am on 19 August.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Southern Water was the first water company to impose a hosepipe ban, and its rules came into force on 5 August.

A grass fire by Newgale Beach, Pembrokeshire, as a drought has been declared for parts of England following the driest summer for 50 years. Picture date: Sunday August 14, 2022.
A grass fire by Newgale Beach, Pembrokeshire, as a drought has been declared for parts of England. (PA)

How much can you be fined for breaking a hosepipe ban?

It is up to each water company to decide on what penalties to impose on customers who flout the hosepipe ban.

In each area, breaches will be investigated when reported, and each reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

South East Water says anyone who breaks the rules “may be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £1,000”.