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Hosepipe Ban Very Probable in 2012

A hosepipe ban is almost inevitable for millions of people as southeast England suffers from drought.

Householders in affected areas were yesterday asked to conserve water by taking showers instead of baths, installing dual flush toilets and washing fruit and vegetables in bowls.

Drought conditions have been declared in Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire which have seen rivers dry up.

Lack of rain during the winter months has caused the issue to jump to the fore. Apart from a poor winter’s worth of rain, this is also due to several years in which below average rainfall has caused a knock-on effect.

It’s estimated that supplies will be further hit this year due to the London Olympics which is expected to use up an extra 10 per cent of stored water. Although unofficial, it is believed the Olympics will be exempt from any restrictions. Thames Water, who will supply water for the Olympics have said they are working to ensure the Games won’t be affected. This of course begs the question of where they will get the extra 10 per cent of water supplies from and whether the consumer will suffer even further as a result.

Richard Aylard, of Thames Water, had this to say: “It may not seem like it, but we have had one of the driest two-year periods since records began in 1884. None of us can control the weather, but we can make a real difference by using less water. For example, turning off taps while brushing our teeth can save six litres a minute, and a minute less in the shower can save ten.”

Thames Water announced it would impose a hosepipe ban on its 8.8 million customers in the Spring if we do not have significant rainfall within days. They are also preparing to apply for drought permits as we speak.

Caroline Spelman, the Environment Secretary, said: “We are asking for the help of everyone by urging them to use less water and to start now.” This after an emergency meeting with Water companies, industry leaders including farmers and wildlife groups.

Farmers are expected to be amongst the hardest hit as expected restrictions will see them being unable to irrigate their crops as needed. Critical in this equation will be the amount of rainfall we see between now and Autumn. Gwyn Jones, NFU vice president, stated that his members were “extremely anxious”.

The Anglian region has just experienced its driest five-month period. It received below average rainfall in January along with the Midlands and South East. John Clare, of Anglian Water said that rivers were 20 per cent lower than they would like. Each rainless day “increases the possibility” of a hosepipe ban.

Both Anglian and Southern water companies have applied for drought permits to help to refill reservoirs.

From the Environment Agency:

Parts of East Anglia and now the South East are officially in drought status with parts of Midlands continuing to experience drought conditions.

Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, parts of Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire, and west Norfolk are still in drought. Hampshire, West Sussex, East Sussex, Kent, Surrey, London, Berkshire, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, and the east of Gloucestershire are now in drought.

Shropshire and Nottinghamshire in our Midlands region are still affected by dry weather. In our Anglian region groundwater levels remain exceptionally low. Soils in these areas are still not wet enough for widespread recharge to take place.

At the moment, no water companies have hosepipe bans in place.

We will of course be updating the website as more news comes in. Please also see our hosepipe ban current situation page.

17 replies on “Hosepipe Ban Very Probable in 2012”

i an a gardener working on private gardens, I would need to water in fertilser once applied, is this allowed whilst the hosepipe is on as my customers don’t have irregation systems just sprinklers and hoses.

hey i was wondering what is the date of the hose pipe ban in 2012 and is it ok to use a hose pipe to fill up a pool for example the day before the hose pipe ban or a few days before?



Hi Charlene

The start date for the ban is April 5th and you can do what you want before then.


I have a pest control company, in my line of work we have to use a pressure washer at times to clean off pigeon fowling etc, pigeons are a carryier of many dieseses, surely if this is an issue at schools, nursery’s etc this work can still be carried out?


Hi Stuart

As long as your pressure washer is never connected to the mains water supply of a domestic property you can do as you wish.

We have several animals, including two donkeys and a pony. They mainly live in our field behind our home and we use a hose pipe to get water to their water tank. If our water company inforce a hose pipe ban, will we still be able to use the hose pipe to get water to the animals?

Hi Horse Owner

If you live in an area where a hosepipe ban is in place you can still use a hosepipe for animal welfare issues, so you would be fine to continue looking after your horses with the aid of a hosepipe.

You can use a hosepipe as much as you like outside a hosepipe ban, hence the lack of interest from your water company. What will be more interesting is seeing if they do anything to your neighbour during a ban!

We have a neighbour that continues to water their garden with a hose, despite the requests for us all to conserve supplies. I am not just talking about an hour of two at weekends – I am talking about leaving the thing on all day and all night!

I thought you were only allowed to use a hose if you were metered but despite reporting this twice, nothing has happened – The water companies seem either powerless or not really bothered.

I await the ban and hope that maybe some action will be taken against serial wasters.

in 2011 and 2012,e stobbart at shoreham port woodchip plant has been wasting fresh water,2 firemans hoses going 8 hrs a day 5 days a week, that must be millions or trillions of fresh water wastred a day,just to keep down dust. why dont thay put a lid on the site. it not agricultural or farming it just a wast of water.everybody you phone wants to pass buck on to someone else.just like the council no one wants to know,2 wrongs dose not make it wants looking in to .else we will be buying bottel water thank to e. sobart.??????????.

Hi Luke
Any punishments vary from year to year and from water company to water company. All you can do is wait and see what conditions they impose this year.

My neighbour has been jet washing 2/3 cars every weekend for the past 20 years for at least 6 hours. Jet washes walls his house/ windows with no concern for the water he is wasting. If this is done during hosepipe bans who should he be reported to ??

Hi Louise

Although perhaps not the most socially acceptable way to use water, your neighbour has done nothing wrong if carried out when no water restrictions have been in place. He can still do this until April 5th if a hosepipe ban comes into effect in your region.

Under a ban, your neighbour should be reported to your local water company if you wish to do so.

Could it then be assumed that because the farmers have been restricted from watering their income via their irrigation systems, that us living in homes with irrigation systems will also be restricted from watering our lawns.


Hi Marcus

The use of irrigation systems is allowed by everyone under the 2012 hosepipe ban rules, though interestingly this is the first year it has been allowed.

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