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

LEIGH ON SEA, ENGLAND - JULY 24: Water sprays from a sprinkler in a garden on July 24, 2018 in Leigh On Sea, England. Seven million residents in the north west of England are currently facing a hosepipe ban due to the heatwave and water companies in other areas of the UK are continuing to urge customers to use water wisely in the ongoing hot, dry conditions. (Photo by John Keeble/Getty Images)
A hosepipe ban warning has been issued in parts of the country. (Getty) (John Keeble via Getty Images)

Following months of dry conditions pushing the country towards drought, households in parts of England are facing a hosepipe ban.

Two water companies have already announced restrictions, but millions more customers face the ban as other companies warn they may also need to introduce them if the continuing dry weather and high demand continues.

Even without restrictions in place, utility firms are urging customers to restrict their water usage by stopping using hosepipes voluntarily for the garden or cleaning cars.

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.

The country could be in drought this month if the dry conditions continue, the Environment Agency has warned.

Where are the hosepipe bans?

Southern Water were the first to announce a hosepipe ban last week, covering Hampshire and the Isle of Wight from this Friday.

Quickly following suit, South East Water announced they were also implementing a ban on hosepipes and sprinklers, which comes into effect on Friday, 12 August.

Britons caught using hosepipes in certain parts of southern England face hefty fines. (Getty)
Britons caught using hosepipes in certain parts of southern England face hefty fines. (Getty) (Judith Haeusler via Getty Images)

The ban will hit homes within Kent and Sussex after the company said it was left with “no choice”, adding that restrictions will “ensure we have enough water for both essential use and to protect the environment”.

While other companies have so far not implemented bans, Thames Water warned that Londoners could also see restrictions in the coming weeks.

The supplier said demand had reached its highest levels for 25 years due to the ongoing dry weather.

Thames Water has urged customers to restrict their water usage in an attempt to stave off any water shortages.

How much is the fine for breaking the ban?

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

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

Water levels at Bewl Water reservoir on July 29, 2022 in Lamberhurst, Kent - one of the counties recently hit with a hosepipe ban. (Getty)
Water levels at Bewl Water reservoir on July 29, 2022 in Lamberhurst, Kent - one of the counties recently hit with a hosepipe ban. (Getty) (Dan Kitwood via Getty Images)
Warmest UK August temperatures. (PA)
Warmest UK August temperatures. (PA) (Press Association Images)

Southern Water did not immediately respond to a query about the cost of their fine but it is also expected to be in the region of £1,000.

Can I still use a sprinkler or watering can?

The ban is on both hosepipes and sprinklers – which are usually connected to a home water supply via a hose.

The ban on hosepipes is for all uses – such as watering gardens, cleaning cars or filling paddling pools.

However, watering cans are still permitted under the restrictions and customers can still fill them up and water their gardens that way.

Watch: Hosepipe ban: Households in Hampshire, Kent and Sussex told to limit water use

What can you do to conserve water?

Here are some of the tips from Wessex Water to conserve water this summer.

  • Swap your hose for a watering can. You can keep your plants happy and still save water by swapping the garden hose or sprinkler for a watering can. A sprinkler can use as much water in half an hour as the average family of four uses in a whole day! You’ll only use a fraction as much water with a watering can.

  • Don’t water when the sun’s out. Avoid watering plants when the sun’s out and temperatures are high to help minimise the amount of water evaporating. Water early in the morning if you can as evening watering encourages the slugs and snails to come out at night.

  • Recycle your paddling pool water. We all love a splash in the sun, and you can make your paddling pool water go further by reusing it. When the fun's all done, use the leftover water to wash the dog, clean the car or water the garden.

  • Take shorter showers. On average, a shower uses around 10 litres of water a minute. That means a 10-minute shower can use 100 litres of water. If a family of four reduced their shower time by just one minute, they could save up to £45 on metered water bills and a further £52 on energy bills every year.