Hosepipe bans have already been announced for South East Water customers in Kent and Sussex and Southern Water customers within Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. With a dry August predicted, many other water companies have refused to rule out future bans.
For green-thumbed Britons, the prospect of being banned from using hosepipes might be concerning.
Anyone caught breaching a hosepipe ban would be committing an offence and could be fined up to £1,000.
The legal response to breaking a hosepipe ban is outlined in the Water Industry Act 1991 section 76, as amended by the Flood and Water Management Act 2010.
In extreme cases, rule-breakers could be prosecuted in criminal court, but usually, water companies tend to issue written warnings before taking things further.
However, there are still some legal ways you can look after your garden plants and lawn during a hosepipe ban.
The key to finding out what you can do during a ban is by understanding what is restricted.
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What is exempt during a hosepipe ban?
If you are a taxi or mini-cab driver, your vehicle is considered to be commercial and therefore you are not included in the ban.
If you own a water butt, you can connect a hosepipe to that.
However, you can not fill up any water butt or container using a hosepipe.
You are exempt from the ban if you use a hosepipe from a private borehole, artificial lake or well.
You are permitted to use rainwater or other collected water (such as old bath water) for your garden and outside space.
If you are disabled and on the water board’s priority service register, you may be able to use a hosepipe to water your garden or allotment. If you think this rule could apply to you it is best to check the terms and conditions of your specific water supplier.
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Washing a pet, or livestock, is allowed, but customers are asked to use water sparingly.
You may be exempt from the hosepipe ban in the event you need to wash out your gutters for safety reasons.
The same rule applies to patios and pathways, though you must be able to prove there is a safety reason.
Businesses and commercial properties are exempt from these restrictions.
If you are heading away on holiday in a motorhome or with a caravan you can use a hosepipe to fill the water tank, however, the water must only be used for drinking, cooking or washing.
You can water your garden using a watering can or bucket filled up from the mains within your home.
For those who live on the water, a hosepipe can be used to clean a boat, as long as it is your primary residence.
You may also use a hosepipe to clean the engine of your boat if you live on the water.