The law on hosepipe bans

The law on hosepipe bans is contained in section 36 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, which replaced the previous law which was contained in section 76 of the Water Industry Act 1991.

Previously, under the Water Industry Act 1991, hosepipe bans could only prohibit the watering of private gardens and/ or the washing of private motor cars. The Flood and Water Management Act 2010 has extended considerably the sort of activities that can be prohibited.

What powers do water undertakers have?

The Flood and Water Management Act 2010 gives water undertakers to power to make temporary bans on the use of hosepipes for certain purposes and to make temporary bans on the use of water (with or without the use of a hosepipe) for certain purposes.

When can a water undertaker make a temporary ban?

A water undertaker can make a temporary ban if it thinks that it is experiencing, or may experience, a serious shortage of water for distribution. The Act does not define what is meant by a “serious shortage”.

What sort of activities can a water undertaker temporarily ban?

A water undertaker can temporarily ban the following uses of water:

  • the watering of a garden using a hosepipe;

  • the cleaning of a private motor-vehicle using a hosepipe:

  • the watering of plants on domestic or other non-commercial premises using a hosepipe;

  • the cleaning of a private leisure boat using a hosepipe;

  • the filling or maintenance of a domestic swimming or paddling pool (whether by using a hosepipe or using other means, for example by filling it with a bucket);

  • the drawing of water (for example, from a river), using a hosepipe, for domestic recreational use;

  • the filling or maintenance of a domestic pond using a hosepipe;

  • the filling or maintenance of an ornamental fountain (whether by using a hosepipe or using other means);

  • the cleaning of walls, or windows, of domestic premises using a hosepipe;

  • the clearing of paths or patios using a hosepipe;

  • the cleaning of other artificial outdoor surfaces using a hosepipe.

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For more information on:

  • How is a temporary ban made?
  • How long will a temporary ban last?
  • What is the penalty for contravening a temporary ban?
  • Will a temporary ban result in the reduction of the amount of my water bill?