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Thames Water Hosepipe Ban Restrictions 2012

Updated 26/03/2012

This is the statement Thames Water have made regarding their hosepipe ban water restrictions starting on April 5th 2012.

We will now use this page as the definitive guide on Thames Water’s restrictions and exemptions. Please therefore refer back here if you have seen something contradictory on another part of our site which may have been written when other rules applied.

You may comment or ask questions using the comments box at the bottom of this page.

Thames Water’s statement:

Thames Water Utilities Limited gives notice to all of its customers, that the potable* water it supplies throughout its entire area must not be used for the following purposes:

  1. watering a ‘garden’ using a hosepipe;
  2. cleaning a private motor-vehicle using a hosepipe;
  3. watering plants on domestic or other non-commercial premises using a hosepipe;
  4. cleaning a private leisure boat using a hosepipe;
  5. filling or maintaining a domestic swimming or paddling pool (except when using hand held containers filled directly from a tap);
  6. drawing water, using a hosepipe, for domestic recreational use;
  7. filling or maintaining a domestic pond (excluding fish ponds) using a hosepipe;
  8. filling or maintaining an ornamental fountain;
  9. cleaning walls, or windows, of domestic premises using a hosepipe;
  10. cleaning paths or patios using a hosepipe;
  11. cleaning other artificial outdoor surfaces using a hosepipe.

[Note: Items in bold lettering have been added after the initial statement was made]

It is an offence to contravene this prohibition. The maximum penalty for each offence is £1,000.

Definition of a garden

A “garden” includes all of the following: a park; gardens open to the public; a lawn; a grass verge; an area of grass used for sport or recreation; an allotment garden, as defined in section 22 of the Allotments Act 1922; any area of an allotment used for non-commercial purposes; and any other green space.


i. using a hosepipe in a garden or for cleaning walls or windows of domestic premises, paths or patios, a private leisure boat or an artificial outdoor surface, where such use is necessary for health and safety reasons.
ii. watering a garden attached to a domestic dwelling or watering plants on domestic premises using a hosepipe, by people with severe mobility problems who hold a current Blue Badge as issued by their local authority.
iii. using a hosepipe to clean a private motor vehicle, or walls and windows of domestic premises, where this is done as a service to customers in the course of a business.
iv. using a hosepipe to water an area of grass or artificial outdoor surfaces used for sport or recreation, where this is required in connection with a national or international sports event.
v. drip or trickle irrigation watering systems, fitted with a pressure reducing valve and a timer, that are not handheld, that place 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.


The seven-day consultation period to make representations about this notice has now closed.

If, as a result of the representations, any terms of the prohibition are varied, a further notice will be published. The restriction will come into force at midnight on 4 April 2012 and will remain in force until further notice.

It is an offence to contravene this prohibition. The maximum penalty for each offence is £1,000.
* Water treated to drinkable standards.

Contact details here: Thames Water Contacts

165 replies on “Thames Water Hosepipe Ban Restrictions 2012”

Questions are now closed for this section as the same questions have been answered many times. Please look through the previous questions and read the rules written at the top of the page.

supermarket car park washes use a hose pipe to connect to their pressure washers therefore i take it we will be able to use our pressure washer at home after all we are all in this together ?

Dear Hose,
I’m confused,
It’s a business that creates revenue when in use?
Are you sure its banned?

I’m sure but please contact your local water company if you don’t accept this answer.

I belong to a Private Bowling Club. Will they be able to water the green and keep the green as it is supposed to be kept

I’ve been told that the Lawn association have an agreement with Thames water that you can water a new lawn for 28 days after installation with a hose (even if there’s a hosepipe ban)? They are doing this tomorrow and its costing me £2,500 (its nearly half an acre) so I’d like clarification please?

No, unless this is very recent news that we don’t know about. Please contact Thames for clarification.


i think I am in the Thames water area but have not had any letter, or flyer, saying that the ban affects me. If they have not corresponded with me, does this mean the ban does not apply to me?

Water companies need to publish an up-coming ban in two local papers and their website by law. You’d need to contact them for advice.

Hi John

I have a garden that’s not directly attached to my flat I have to go out my front door undo two lock walk down a alleyway through a downstairs garden to get to mine, I normally throw a hose pipe out the second floor window to water my plants will i be expected to make 10 trips up stairs and down stairs to be able to water my plants, is there any other way is there another solution ?

You’d need to speak to your local water company to see if they can help on this one.

I am stunned that domestic ponds are included in the ban. How are we supposed to keep the fish alive as the pond dries out?

I work in a restaurant where cobbles need cleaning every week from food debris etc as it is a vermin issue. Can we continue to use a jetwash or hosepipe as this is a big area and is quite a big job already having to move furniture etc. Also we open at 9am, close at 11pm ish so needs to be done very early in the morning.

can I use a hozelock aquapod with a hose which drips water straight into the soil?

under this exemption: v. drip or trickle irrigation watering systems, fitted with a pressure reducing valve and a timer, that are not handheld, that place 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.

many thanks

Can’t answer for the specific model but as long as it meets the criteria given, you can use it.

I have a pond with four huge fish and many small ones. Am I allowed to top up during the summer?

just been wathcing sky news and there was a water sprinkler flat out doing the grass outside the houses of paliment?? takes the piss!!!

I am unclear on a point, can I top up my waterbutt (which I draw water into a can to water my Veg) with a hose as its 125′ from a tap

Hi I work for a gardening company who works in lots of private gardens, are we exempt from the ban or not? Thanks.

I run a small landscape gardening company…I need to use water for my business to survive.
1. Can we use it for our concrete and mortar.
2. much of my yearly profit depends on me selling plants…am i allowed to water these after they are incorporated into a garden scheme to ensure they survive ?
3. I have 4 turfing jobs that are now in the balance as my customers are unsure as to whether they can water the new lawn to help it establish…am i allowed to water it for them ?
4. I install irrigation systems…am i allowed to use mains water to test them ?

1. OK
2. Not with a hosepipe, OK with a watering can
3. No watering of new lawns with hosepipes – either you or your customers
4. As long as they are of approved type, see section v. above in Exceptions

We have a community garden on a city farm. The hosepipes will obviously be used for the livestock. Will the garden which supports volunteers be included in the ban?

Hi Lu

Worth checking with Thames perhaps but I wouldn’t have thought you’d be exempted.

You might like to check whether any of your volunteers are Blue Badge holders – they MIGHT be allowed to use a hosepipe while working in the garden. You’d need to confirm that with Thames.

I have a hot tub due for delivery & instalation by the supplier, can there fill the tub using the hose pipe at our premises?

Hi Steve

The supplier should be able to fill it as part of the installation process.

Hi Hose
I sell plants in pots and containers plus hanging baskets . I also have Nursery stock . It’s not a registered business as such but I have done this for twenty odd years. This year have spent thousands expanding the drive and had cold frames and lots of staging built to display my plants all in various size pots. Can I use a hosepipe to water them ?
Regards Anne

Hi Anne

I don’t think you’ll be able to do this with a hosepipe as not being a registered business. Probably a good idea to ask Thames Water.

Can you please clarify that my blue badge holding next door neighbour can do anything with her hose pipe but I can’t? Does this mean that she can water her flowers,lawn and fill a paddling pool for her son?

Hi Stuart

She can only water the garden with a hosepipe as a blue badge holder, not fill a paddling pool.

If I were to attach the inlet for my pressure washer to my water butt which gather rain water from the roof, would this be allowed?


I understand that domestic ponds cannot be replensihed during the band, we have noticed that this year we have a great crested newt, that is possibly using our pond/surrounding area as a breading ground, does the restrictions still apply as GSN’s are a protected species?

Hi Lucy

As long as you can prove it’s an animal welfare issue you are allowed to top up your pond with a hosepipe.

Hi,can i use a hosepipe to fill the water tank on my motorhome,the water is used for washing/cooking etc.

Good news for pond fish in the Thames Water area. On the Thames Water website, under frequently asked questions (What clarifications have been added to the Temporary Use Ban) they state “Under the seventh exemption ‘filling or maintaining a domestic pond using a hosepipe’ we have clarified that this excludes fish ponds.” Our koi carp will survive!

I jetwash the garden once a week to clear up my dogs mess as we have a large dog and a small grand-child who plays in the garden. Will I still be able to do this whilst the hose pipe ban is on. I live in the Croydon area.

Hi Gary

Will be fine if it’s seen to be a health and safety issue.


Can I use a hose to water the garden which is attached to a pump which pumps water up from wells under the ground in our garden? These wells always seem to have water in them and are not connected in any way to the mains water supply.


Hi Sarah

This is usually fine, though you may want to clarify with your local water company. Sometimes issues can arise over the source of the well and if taking water from it will take water from elsewhere.


Can I walk around the garden watering from a watering can, with the hose pipe filling up my watering can contuniously as I walk.

I cant see anything about filling the watering can so this must be allowed.


But meant to say seem you can use hose to water pots and hanging baskets? So confuising

We have a commercial swimming pool that is having the tile grout replaced and is therefore empty at present. Will we be able to re-fill the pool once the grouting is finished and has dried?

Hi Steve

Should be able to as a commercial enterprise, but I’d advise checking with your local water company.

Hi Hose.

Our garden has to have new turf laid as it has been reduced to mud after six months of bulding work. Turf needs to be watered every day – which obviously is going to cause a problem. one of the turf companies we’ve approached to quote ahs said that if you lay turf, you are exempt from the ban for 28 days. Is this true? If not, I have noticed that the restrictions make specific reference to hosepipes – would a sprinkler be permissable under the current terms? Or can we employ someone (garden services, for example) to come and water it for us?


Hi Amanda

The turf company may be using old information as Thames Water will not allow the watering of new turf with hosepipes, sprinklers etc. Only buckets/watering cans.

I’ve got a problem, as I have just laid down about 90ft of lawn today, and it is going to need watering. It will be incredibly difficult to do this through a watering can, is there no possible exception?

Hi Jack

I’m afraid Thames Water are offering no exemptions for this at the present time.

I have a large dog (55kgs) who requires a medicated shampoo every week or so. He is way too big for the household bath and I usually use the garden hose on a mixer tap. Am I still permitted to do this during a hosepipe ban? (Thames water)

Hi, I have an aviary with about 60 birds, I usually hose the aviary out to provide a clean environment for the birds & remove potentially harmful dust and excrement. Can I continue to do so for animal welfare.

Hi John

As long as you can demonstrate it’s for animal welfare issues and that it can’t practically be done any other way you should be alright.

Hi just looked at the Thames website, and under the section marked Frequently asked questions and then WHAT CLARIFICATIONS HAVE BEEN MADE TO THE TEMPORARY USE BAN Under the fourth exemption relating to national and international sporting events, the exemption has been amended to clarify that a list of qualifying sporting events is available on the website and will be updated as and when required.
Under the fifth exemption ˜filling or maintaining a domestic swimming or paddling pool’ we have clarified this does not include using hand held containers filled directly from a tap.

Under the seventh exemption ˜filling or maintaining a domestic pond using a hosepipe’we have clarified that this excludes fish ponds.

Therefor fish ponds are OK 🙂


Is there an expected length of the ban?

I appreciate that this is hard to predict (rain required!) but I would be really interested to hear if there is currently a forecast for how long the ban will be in place.

Thank you.

I’ve got a problem, as I have just laid down about 90ft of lawn today, and it is going to need watering. It will be incredibly difficult to do this through a watering can, is there no possible exception?

I’m a chauffeur so my car is not a private car, does thet mean i can use a hosepipe to clean it

If you fill a watering can direct from a tap, that is ok? But not if you fill with a hose? The volume of water used is the same so what is the difference?

We have a very long garden with a greenhouse and vegetable patch at the bottom. Are we permitted to fill a watering can at the bottom of the garden using a hosepipe rather than having to walk the length of the garden with a full watering can? Effectively we are just extending the outside tap to the end of the garden by doing this. Does rule this out? It seems illogical.

Hi Jim

The water companies can apply all or some of the rules made in the government’s legislation. Some water companies are showing that particular piece of legislation in their notices and some aren’t. Thames Water aren’t so we presume doing what you want is allowed under them.

However, this is another of the many things we want to clear up over the next few days by speaking to the water companies.

Update: Under Thames Water rules you cannot fill a watering can/buckets using a hosepipe.

Thanks “Hose”. It seems we’re slowly going to growing longer arms this summer! Still seems illogical. They may as well try arguing that the pipe under my kitchen floor which feeds water to the outside tap is a hosepipe! 😉 Perhaps I should run domestic copper pipes down my garden to a standpipe.

My local park has just raised money and planted a whole bunch of new trees. Will the park keeper be allowed to water them. Also, can we fill buckets in the kitchen and carry them outside?

Hi Water Wanter

No the park won’t be able to do that unless they are given an exemption by Thames Water. Yes you can fill in the kitchen and take them outside.

I have a hose pipe that connects to my cold water cistern tank rather then directly to the mains, as the cistern tank water is not of potable standard am I right to assume I could use my hose pipe if I wanted to?

Hi Adam

Surely the cistern is fed from the mains? If so you can’t connect a hosepipe.

So am I right if a person lives in my house with a blue badge we are allowed to use the hose

Hi Kelly

The exemption is for the person with the blue badge, not anyone else in the house.