People were told to step on their neighbors if they caught them repeatedly flouting a hose ban.
Anyone taken to court for persistent breaches of restrictions on hose bans – including watering a garden, cleaning a vehicle or washing windows, walls, pathways and patios – faces a fine of up to £1,000.
It is also prohibited to fill a children’s pool, domestic pond or ornamental fountain.
But the measures, officially known as Temporary Use Prohibitions (TUBs), will no doubt leave gardeners in dismay as they desperately try to save their sunburned plants from wilting in the heat wave.
Which areas are affected by the hose ban?
The hose ban will take effect from 5pm today (Friday, August 5) in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight – the first to be imposed in the region since 2012.
Southeast water also announced the ban to its customers in Kent and Sussex from 12 August.
Meanwhile, Pembrokeshire, Wales, will also be hit by a hose ban from 19 August.
Parts of England had the driest July on record dating back to 1836after the driest eight-month period since November 2021 for the country since 1976.
It also comes as the Met Office warned that there is “very little significant rain” on the horizon for dry areas of England as Temperatures are expected to climb to the 30s next week.
Find out the weather forecast for your region
People ask to ‘kindly remind’ others about water restrictions
Other companies have so far delayed restrictions despite low water levels, though some say they may need to implement bans if dry weather continues.
Residents who have not yet been hit by the restrictions are being urged to refrain from using hoses to water their garden or clean their car.
Southern Water stressed that there was no risk to the general water supply, but the ban was necessary to protect the environment during one of the driest years on record, accompanied by record temperatures.
However, the company encouraged people to “kindly remind” neighbors of the rules.
A spokesperson said: “If you see someone violating the restrictions, please let us know through our customer service team.
“A fine of up to £1,000 can be imposed for any breach. We would like to thank all our customers for supporting these restrictions and for doing their part to protect their local rivers.”
Any fine imposed would be handed down through the courts.
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Alison Hoyle, director of risk and compliance at Southern Water, said: “We did not take this decision lightly and we know that the temporary ban on use will have an impact on our customers.
“We are asking everyone in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to do their part in supporting these measures and only use the water they need.”
See More information:
What consumes the most water in our homes?
Another heat wave brewing for parts of the UK next week
‘Approaching drought levels’
Tens of thousands of people in Pembrokeshire will be subject to water restrictions after the county recorded just over 60% of expected rainfall between March and July – prompting Welsh Water (Dwr Cymru) to ban hose from August 19.
Managing Director of Water Services Ian Christie said: “We haven’t seen such prolonged dry conditions in Pembrokeshire since 1976.
“Introducing the hose ban is not a decision we take lightly, however if we are to ensure that there is enough water to see us through the rest of the summer and into the fall, we need to act now to try to avoid further restrictions later on.”
The ban will apply to just over 2% of Welsh Water’s three million customers, with no plans currently to introduce broader restrictions, the company said in a statement.
Advice for gardeners on which plants to save
New plants should be prioritized over more established ones, says Royal Horticultural Society senior horticultural consultant Nikki Barker.
National Allotment Society President Phil Gomersall said he doesn’t water plants unless it’s “absolutely necessary.”
“I may seem a little old-fashioned, but I water the young plants for the first two to three weeks, then I let them fend for themselves. They may wilt during the day, but they’re back in at night, and this encourages root growth.”
tips for gardeners
• Prioritize younger plants over more established ones – create a timeline and work backwards
• Anything planted at least three years ago must have roots deep enough to recover.
• Don’t waste water on lawns – grass is “resilient” and will grow back
• Do not use gray water if it contains bleach or disinfectant
• Try reusing “grey water” from bathing or washing dishes in hanging baskets and ornamental plants – but not edible plants, fruits or vegetables