Where have hosepipe bans been introduced and is there one in London?

Now, Thames Water has announced a hosepipe ban will come into effect from today.

Millions of people had already been barred from using hosepipes last month, following the driest July since 1911.

As London faced temperatures of up to 36C last week, a Thames Water director said a hosepipe ban was “ready to go”.

People in the affected areas will not be allowed to water their plants, wash their cars, or fill their paddling pools.

A spokesperson for Water UK said: “Every company has a drought plan in place, agreed with ministers and the Environment Agency. These set out specific triggers for activating different levels of response, including hosepipe bans.

“The Government decided that it should be up to water companies to take the final judgment on when each plan’s action triggers have been met.”

Here is everything you need to know about the areas introducing hosepipe bans and how they work.

Where are there hosepipe bans?

Thames Water

Following the dry weather and hot temperatures last week, Thames Water has introduced a hosepipe ban that will come into effect today.

The company, which supplies water to 15 million customers across London and the Thames Valley, said that “after the driest July on record, and below average rainfall in 10 of the last 12 months, water levels in our rivers and reservoirs are much lower than usual.

“We have more teams reducing leakage than ever before, working 24/7 to find and fix more than 1,100 leaks every week. The recent heatwaves mean that demand for water is also at record levels.

“We’ve been working around the clock to supply everyone, and customers have been brilliant at saving water where they can. But, with low rainfall forecast for the coming months, we now need to take the next step in our drought plan. Everything we do now will help protect supplies next summer and help the environment.”

How to contact Thames Water

Thames Water’s helpline are available to contact on 0800 316 9800 and you can message them directly on Twitter and Facebook.

Southern Water

Southern Water announced the first hosepipe ban of the year, which came into effect in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight on Friday, August 5, under what’s known as a Temporary Use Ban.

South East Water

The water supplier for Kent and Sussex, South East Water, confirmed a hosepipe ban citing demand this summer breaking “all previous records” amid “extreme” dry conditions, which started on Friday, August 12.

Manx Utilities

Manx Utilities introduced a temporary ban in the Isle of Man on Friday, July 29.

Welsh Water

Welsh Water also announced people in Pembrokeshire would be banned from using their hosepipes. This came into effect on Friday, August 19.

South West Water

South West Water also introduced a hosepipe ban in Cornwall and North Devon on Tuesday, August 23.

Yorkshire Water

Yorkshire Water, which serves around five million people, will introduce a hosepipe ban from Friday, August 26.

What are the rules?

A hosepipe ban would see outdoor water-use restrictions implemented.

This means sprinklers, hosepipes and irrigation systems would be banned from use in an effort to keep water in adequate supply.

For the public, this would mean no access to hosepipes to water your garden, wash your car, or fill up any type of pool to try to keep you cool in the heat.

This could more seriously affect those who rely on irrigation systems for work, such as farmers and gardeners, although certain businesses are exempt.

The individual water-utility companies for specific areas are allowed to set the terms and conditions for the ban, including hours of the ban, and if there are any extenuating circumstances.

What can you do?

Although you can’t use a hose, you can still water your garden with a watering can.

In previous hosepipe bans, the use of watering cans, buckets, and other ways to carry water has been acceptable for watering the garden, or your car.

Before you do this, make sure to check the specific rules in place for by your local water company.


According to Thames Water, if you’re a Blue Badge holder or are on the Priority Services Register with a mobility issue, you can still use a hose for:

  • Watering your garden/allotment and plants
  • Cleaning your vehicles
  • Cleaning windows, walls, paths, patios, or other artificial outdoor surfaces like artificial grass
  • Filling or maintaining a domestic pond

Why is the ban being enforced?

The idea of a hosepipe ban is to reduce the level of water consumption to winter levels. Joint research by the universities of Manchester, Edinburgh, Southampton and Lancaster in 2014 suggested that fewer than 20 per cent of people with gardens used a hosepipe to water it.

The Energy Saving Trust estimates that, of the average 142 litres (284 pints) of water used per person per day, only about one per cent goes on the garden, and one per cent on the car.

Running a hosepipe for an hour uses about 1,000 litres of water (1,760 pints), therefore it doesn’t take many people watering their garden with a hose to use a large amount of water.

Are businesses affected?

Businesses such as garden centres and car washes are not included in the ban and can continue to operate normally.

Could I be fined?

Once a hosepipe ban is in place, rule-breakers could be fined and even prosecuted in a criminal court.

Each water-utility company sets its own terms and conditions regarding fines, but people could face a penalty of up to £2,000 for continuing to ignore the rules.

Residents living in an area where a hosepipe ban is in force are urged to check with their water company on their specific policy.

When was the last hosepipe ban in the UK?

The last hosepipe ban was enforced in 2018, starting on August 5. Before that, there had been a ban in 2012.

Who is my water supplier?

Households can’t choose their water supplier, unlike with gas and electricity.

Water suppliers each serve particular parts of England and Wales. To find out who your water supplier is, go to and enter your postcode.

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