After the driest July in southern England on record, a hosepipe ban has formally been declared for those living in Kent and Sussex.
South East Water announced the new water restrictions, which will remain in place for the foreseeable future.
Southern Water had already put regulations in place with a hosepipe ban for people living in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight from August 5.
Those living in areas with a ban will not be allowed to use a hosepipe to water their garden, clean their car, fill up a swimming or paddling pool and other similar activities.
A fine could be issued, should someone be found to have broken the rules. It is understood that water companies will be relying on reports from the public to enforce the rules.
With the south-east of the country set to receive hot, sunny and humid weather over the next week, and the forecast for September expected to be similar, the bans look to remain in place for a significant time period. We have all your hosepipe ban queries answered below.
Where is there a hosepipe ban and when will they come in?
Southern customers in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight will be under a hosepipe ban from this Friday August 5. South East customers in Kent and Sussex will join from August 12.
Why is there a hosepipe ban?
South East England recorded just 8 per cent of average rainfall in July, with weather conditions expected to continue being hot, humid and dry for August and September.
How much is the fine if you break the rules of the hosepipe ban?
Those found to have broken the rules are most likely to receive a warning from their water company. In the most extreme cases, a court can impose a fine of up to £1,000.
What can you use your water for under the hosepipe ban in south-east England?
There are some stipulations to the hosepipe ban, meaning that while activities among people’s daily routines might be prohibited, others are allowed.
- While you cannot water your own garden, plants for sale or commercial use are not restricted.
- Watering sports fields – but only the “active” parts, not the entire ground
- Washing a “public service vehicle” like a coach or bus
- Filling pools, ponds or fountains where fish or other animals are being kept
- Cleaning walls, windows, paths or patios with a hosepipe for health and safety reasons
Where else in south-east England could face a hosepipe ban?
Thames and South West told The Telegraph that they may need to bring in restrictions in the coming weeks. Others in the south, including Portsmouth and Wessex, said they were not currently considering any restrictions.
How can you help save water?
If you’re looking to help save water amid the dry summer season, there are a few things you can do as part of your daily routine:
- Take shorter showers
- Don’t wash your car – be proud to keep it dirty
- Don’t wash your hair every day, or use dry shampoo
- Use the same glass, mug, or cup all day
- Let your lawn go brown, and don’t cut it too short because it dries out more quickly
- Throw a light fabric, or put up a sunshade, over your plants
- Install a water butt
Will areas up north be affected?
The north of England is expected to receive rain over the next few days, leading water companies there to be hopeful of avoiding having to implement restrictions.
Although temporary flood warnings have been issued in parts of the Lake District this week, officials are not certain that there will be enough rainfall across the country to reduce the need for further hosepipe bans across summer.
This article is kept updated with the latest information.