Hosepipe Ban 2022: where and when will they happen and can I get a refund?

Hosepipe bans announced for some parts of the UK, where are they happening? Can you get fined? What are your rights?

plants being watetred
(Image credit: getty images)

Hosepipe bans and heatwaves could be our lasting memories of summer 2022 as the hot dry weather forces some water companies to take action in a bid to save water.   

Low water levels in some parts of the country have been an inevitable  repercussion of the heatwave alongside claiming tax relief for working from home, heatwave rail delays and a spike in interest  in our heatwave workers rights .

Three water companies in the UK have introduced hosepipe bans that have either already kicked in or will do so over the next two weeks and according to the BBC (opens in new tab), Thames Water has announced it will be introducing a hosepipe ban for its 15 million customers over the coming weeks. 

A hosepipe ban, known in water company lingo, as a temporary use ban – tends to affect domestic households, instead of businesses.  

If there’s one in place in your area it means you can’t use a hosepipe that’s connected to your mains water supply for things including watering the garden to filling the kids’ paddling pool, washing your windows or cleaning your car.  

Depending on your water company, this ban will also usually apply to sprinklers and jet washers if they’re connected to your mains water supply.

Hosepipe bans: where and when are they happening? 

  • Thames Water will introduce a hosepipe ban for its 15 million customers over the coming weeks. 
  • Southern Water (opens in new tab)has introduced a hosepipe ban across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight which came into effect from 5 August.  
  • South East Water (opens in new tab)  has announced a hosepipe ban across Kent and Sussex coming into force from 12 August and 
  • Dwr Cymru (opens in new tab) (Welsh Water) will introduce a ban from 8am on 19 August which affects households in Pembrokeshire and a small adjoining part of Carmarthenshire.

Can I get fined for using my hosepipe? 

If you’re spotted and reported, for using your hosepipe or sprinkler when you shouldn’t, the initial approach from your water company may be a letter in the post to remind you of the rules, but water companies do have the power to prosecute if you continually flout the rules.

Senior Leader at the Consumer Council for Water (opens in new tab), (CCW), Andy White said: “Customers that breach the ban can be hit with a fine of up to £1,000 which is enforceable. Imposing a fine is always a last resort for water companies and they would much rather people respected the restrictions”. 

“We understand a hosepipe ban can be frustrating for households but it’s a necessary step to ensure our essential water use in the home is not restricted – something we know that households would not accept.”

While some of us may feel uncomfortable snitching on our neighbours if they abuse a hosepipe ban – if water companies get complaints about residents ignoring rules, they can investigate and some will investigate anonymous tips offs too.

If you’re not sure if you’re affected, check your supplier’s website as most have postcode checkers where you can go on to check any restrictions in your area.

Who isn’t affected by the hosepipe ban? 

Some households won’t be affected by the hosepipe ban, however it’s worth checking the rules on your supplier’s website as any exemptions could vary.

According to South East Water, “Customers on our Priority Service Register who may be unable to, or find it difficult to, make adaptations are still able to use their hosepipes”.   

Customers do not need to apply for an exemption, “however, we may question your use of an exemption if we receive reports of hosepipe usage”.

Welsh Water’s Managing Director of Water Services Ian Christie said: There are exceptions, particularly for those holding a Blue Badge or on our Priority Service Register”.

If you want to keep your garden green, or keep the kids cool, you can still use a hosepipe or sprinkler, just providing it’s not connected to your mains water supply.  This means you’ll be in the clear, providing for example you use  rainwater stored in a water butt to water your garden.

Commercial businesses that provide a service, like car wash companies, are exempt from the ban.

Even if you live in an area that’s not affected by the hosepipe ban, it’s worth being vigilant with your water use and trying to save water for households but it’s a necessary step to ensure our essential water use in the home is not restricted – something we know that households would not accept.”

While some of us may feel uncomfortable snitching on our neighbours if they abuse a hosepipe ban – if water companies get complaints about residents ignoring rules, they can investigate and some will investigate anonymous tips offs too.

If you’re not sure if you’re affected, check your supplier’s website as most have postcode checkers where you can go on to check any restrictions in your area

Can I get a refund if I can’t use my hosepipe? 

You can’t get a refund if you are not allowed to use your hosepipe, as according to Andy White, “a hosepipe ban is a necessary step taken by water companies to ensure that they have enough water available for people’s essential needs such as drinking, cooking, washing and flushing the toilet”.

If you’re on a meter, and pay for every drop, while not being able to use your hosepipe or sprinkler may seem inconvenient, you will save money as you won’t for what you don’t use.  

Compensation is usually only paid out by water companies in the event you lose all water supply, say due to a burst main.  

As a rough guide, this could mean compensation payments of £20 if the supply can’t be restored for at least 24 hours, and then a further £10 for each subsequent 24 hour period.

Sue Hayward
contributor

Sue Hayward is a personal finance and consumer journalist, broadcaster and author who regularly chats on TV and Radio on ways to get more power for your pound.  Sue’s written for a wide range of publications including the Guardian, i Paper, Good Housekeeping, Lovemoney and My Weekly. Cats, cheese and travel are Sue’s passions away from her desk!