What does a hosepipe ban mean for UK ponds?
What is a hosepipe ban?
During times of persistent hot weather, we often experience water shortages in the UK. During these times, water companies can impose a Temporary Use Ban, more commonly referred to as a hosepipe ban using the guidelines set out by the water industry act of 1991.
Hosepipe bans are usually imposed during the hot summer months, as the demand for water is higher, with many turning to paddling pools to cool down, or taking advantage of the good weather to wash their cars, but the resources are lower due to the persisting dry weather.
Imposing a hosepipe ban forces the general public to be more conservative and do their best to save water, restricting outdoor water usage and only allowing the use of water for essential purposes such as drinking and washing, or where the welfare of people or animals is concerned, in turn, preventing a serious drought where there may no longer be enough water for these uses.
What are the rules of a hosepipe ban?
The rules of a hosepipe ban can vary between water boards, although for the most part, the rules remain the same as they generally follow the rules outlined in the water industry act of 1991.
For most water companies, the use of a hosepipe, sprinklers, dripper hoses, automatic irrigation systems and similar devices are not allowed for the following:
- Watering a garden using a hosepipe
- Watering plants on domestic or other non-commercial premises
- To draw water using a hosepipe for domestic recreational use
- To fill or maintain a domestic pond using a hosepipe
- To fill or maintain ornamental fountains or water features
- To fill or maintain a domestic swimming pool, paddling pool or hot tubs
- To clean a private vehicle using a hosepipe, such as washing cars
- To clean walls or windows of domestic premises using a hosepipe
- To clean paths, patios or other artificial outdoor surfaces using a hosepipe
- To clean a private leisure boat using a hosepipe
Again, this can change between water boards, so it is important if a hosepipe ban is imposed in your area that you check the specific regulations for your water board.
Are there any exceptions to the above rules?
As with the rules themselves, exemptions to the rules can differ between water boards, however, they do generally follow the same guidelines.
A general round-up of exemptions for most companies are as follows:
- Using a hosepipe for health and safety reasons, where this includes removing or minimising any risk to human or animal health, and preventing or controlling the spread of pathogens
- Watering plants that are either grown or kept for commercial use, or that are part of a National Plant Collection or temporary garden or flower display
- Cleaning any area of a private leisure boat which, except for doors or windows, is enclosed by a roof and walls
- Filling or maintaining a pool where necessary in the course of its construction
- Filling or maintaining a pool that is designed, constructed or adapted for use in the course of a programme of medical treatment
- Filling or maintaining a pool that is used for the purpose of decontaminating animals from infections or disease
- Filling or maintaining a pool used in the course of a programme of veterinary treatment
- Filling or maintaining a pool in which fish or other aquatic animals are being reared or kept in captivity
- Filling or maintaining a domestic pond in which fish or other aquatic animals are being reared or kept in captivity
- Filling or maintaining an ornamental fountain which is in or near a fish pond and whose purpose is to supply sufficient oxygen to the water in the pond in order to keep the fish healthy
Discretionary universal exemptions to the hosepipe ban also apply to blue badge holders who have mobility problems, allowing them to water their gardens using a hosepipe, and those who have an approved drip or trickle irrigation watering system.
Can I build a pond during a hosepipe ban?
Unfortunately, most water companies will not allow you to build a new domestic pond during a hosepipe ban. This is because there is no ethical constraint to banning the use of water for this purpose, since any fish that may be planned to live in the pond are not yet present, since the body of water itself is not yet present.
Can I maintain my existing pond during a hosepipe ban?
This ultimately depends on the type of pond you have. For ornamental ponds that are free of fish, and purely for decorative or aesthetic purposes, you cannot use a hosepipe to top up or maintain your pond during a hosepipe ban.
If your pond contains fish, however, then you are exempt from the restriction and can use a hosepipe to top up or maintain your pond as required, however, it is important to be conscious of your water usage during these times in order to not exacerbate the issue, which could lead to more strict regulations on when you can or can't use a hosepipe.