Twenty million people in England are affected by the hosepipe ban - but there is a way to still water your garden, and even a way of still using your hosepipe that is both ethical and legal.
Using a hosepipe in the conventional way can land you with a £1,000 fine but if your hose is connected to a special watering system, you are exempt from the ban because you are using a controlled amount of water.
Don't forget - the other exemption is that you are allowed to use your hose to fill your pond as long as it's stocked with fish.
Swell's garden watering advisor Chris Plumb explains: "An automatic watering kit or micro irrigation system allows you to water all your pots, trees and lawn by moderating the amount of water coming from your hose. It is efficient and exempt from the hosepipe ban."
Micro irrigation systems like the Hozelock Deluxe Auto Kit or Auto Aquapod Kit come with everything you need to efficiently and legally water your garden.
The kits are easy to set up and you can customise them depending on the size of your garden.
Basically a timer is attached to your garden tap which controls the water flow. This is especially handy if you are on holiday.
The timer then connects to your pressure reducer which moderates the water flow - meaning you are not wasting water.
Instead of connecting the timer directly to the pressure reducer you also have the option of connecting it using your garden hose.
It may be as well to buy a new garden hose to the length you need otherwise you may have surplus hose coiling round your garden, or have to chop up your garden hose. If you do use a hosepipe to connect your time to your pressure controller, you also need an adaptor, such as the Hozelock Accessory Adaptor 3/4" BSP Male Thread which only costs a couple of pounds.
From the pressure reducer you then have your supply hose (black hose) which is 25m long.
You can wind the supply hose around your pots or under your hedges and then make as many micro tube connections as you need depending on how many pots you have to water. You get 10m of 4mm microtubing so you can easily cut that to as many pieces as you need.
For your convenience Chris has taken a photo of all the kit that comes with the Hozelock Deluxe Auto Kit:
The micro irrigation systems are great for anyone who wants to water their gardens without wasting water but will come as especially good news for those living in areas affected by the ban- namely the suppliers in Thames, Southern, South East, Anglian, Sutton and East Surrey, Veolia Central and Veolia South East.
The legislation material circulated states: "plants may be watered on domestic or other non-commercial premises using a fixed drip or trickle irrigation watering system, connected to a metered water supply, which is fitted with a pressure reducing valve and a timer and which places water drip by drip directly onto the soil surface or beneath the soil surface, without any surface run off or dispersion of water through the air using a jet or mist."
If you would like further advice on garden watering call our advisor Chris Plumb on: 0161 351 4700.
Here is a schematic diagram of how a micro irrigation system works, or click here for the full labelled auto watering guide.
by Simon Keegan