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Southern Water Hosepipe Ban Restrictions 2012

Updated 27/03/2012

This is the statement Southern 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 Southern 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.

Southern Water’s statement:

What activities are restricted (prohibitions) from April 5?

  • Watering a garden using a hosepipe;
  • Cleaning a private motor vehicle using a hosepipe;
  • Watering plants on domestic or other non-commercial premises using a hosepipe;
  • Cleaning a private leisure boat using a hosepipe;
  • Filling or maintaining a domestic swimming or paddling pool;
  • Drawing water using a hosepipe for domestic recreational use;
  • Filling or maintaining a domestic pond using a hosepipe;
  • Filling or maintaining an ornamental fountain;
  • Cleaning walls or windows of domestic premises using a hosepipe;
  • Cleaning paths or patios using a hosepipe;
  • Cleaning other artificial outdoor surfaces using a hosepipe.

In these prohibitions:
“garden” includes a park, gardens open to the public, a lawn, a grass verge, grass used for sport or recreation, an allotment used for non-commercial purposes and any other green space; hosepipe includes anything designed, adapted or used to serve the same purpose as a hosepipe; using a hosepipe for domestic recreational use includes operating water slides and other recreational equipment.


The following are excepted from the prohibitions:

  • Watering a grass surface used for regional, national or international sport events;
  • Cleaning a private motor vehicle by a business specialising in hand car washing which uses hosepipes as part of the process;
  • Using a water-fed pole to clean the windows of domestic premises in the course of a business;
  • Cleaning the walls of domestic premises in the course of a business where the purpose of cleaning is the removal of graffiti;
  • Cleaning paths, patios and hard-standings by a business whose sole operation is the cleaning of paths, patios and other hard-standings.

Further exceptions are specified in The Water Use (Temporary Bans) Order 2010 (SI 2010 No. 2231) and that Order also defines certain terms. The Order may be found at, and the Company will consider instances of significant hardship for concessionary exception, which may be subject to conditions “ please call us on 0845 278 0845 if you think this applies to you.

We will consider applications for concessionary exceptions from customers who are significantly adversely impacted by the restrictions because of infirmity or disability and for customers who use a drip or trickle irrigation watering system, 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. Please call us on 0845 278 0845 for further advice if you feel either of these apply to you.

Contact details here: Southern Water Contacts

151 replies on “Southern 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.


Query for you. After using a Personal Watercraft, a serious element of the maintenance schedule for these machines is to flush them out with fresh water using a hose pipe attachment in order to remove salt water from the sea.

Using a bucket or watering can is simply not an option, so can you advise what a hose pipe ban would imply in this instance, due to the fact you are not washing the vehicle externally, but the inside of an engine worth thousands of pounds?

Many thanks

We’ve seen nowhere that states you can’t do this. May be worth checking with your local water company though.

My Nans neighbors has erected a large pool in their garden and I am led to believe that the fire brigade are coming to fill it and they are not being charged for this which surely isn’t right! Especially as we have all had water meters too in this area!

I live in the post code area of so53 4sg. Can you please tell
me if the hosepipe ban refers to this area?

We are unable to give advice on post codes that may be affected. Please contact your local water company.


We are a business who fully refurbish woodworking machinery, and use a diesel heated karcher pressure washer off a hose pipe to clean all of our woodworking machinery prior to service/repair. Can we still use this during the hose pip ban. This is really important to our business. Please kindly advise as soon as possible.

Hot tubs. Can I refill my hot tub? The water has to be changed (refilled completely)only four times a year – is this still allowed?

Can I just ask, I live in Hampshire and I have just spent £250 on new turf I intend to lay this weekend, which obviously needs watering via a sprinkler.

I see in a comment above that the ban doesn’t apply to Hampshire at the moment, so I assume I am okay to carry on with my turfing??

No, Hampshire isn’t included in the ban, but best to contact your local water company to verify.

Very confused as to area covered for hose pipe ban, we live in Warsash post code SO31, what is the situation please

We are not in a position to say whether a certain post code is included in a hosepipe ban. Please use the contact details given for your local water company.

i have heard that you are exempt if you have a disabled badge or over 65, is this correct?

No exemptions for over 65s

Exemption to water garden using a hosepipe for blue badge holders.

None blue badge holders with disabilities can contact them directly an ask for an exemption for watering gardens.

I am registered blind & I have paralysis – I live in Winchester. I have spoken to Southern Water Via the telephone on the 0845 number given but I have not had a satisfactory reply to my enquiries: will I be able to use my hosepipe before & after the 5th April?

You’ll simply have to keep pressing them for an answer I’m afraid. Their notice (above) says they will consider cases such as yours.

can you clarify please;

i currently have a built pond ready to fill and stock, but as it currently empty does this mean i am not allowed to fill it as there are currently no fish in it.


My company office is based in the southern water area. As this is a non-domestic property are we allowed to continue watering our small garden with a hose pipe?

Definitely not. The business status you have doesn’t give an exemption.

So, to clarify (maybe?)

1: I have 200 litres of rainwater in a back garden waterbutt.
Can I connect my pressure washer, (which will self prime and work ok from this source), via a hose to the front of the house to wash my muddy trail bike down?

2: Once used up, I can’t refill the water butt with fresh water with a bucket or a hose, but I can fill it with used bathwater or rainwater?

Hi John

Exactly right. Key point is the water butt can’t be refilled in any way from the mains supply.

Hose, Could you please restate the position regarding filling a water butt with a hosepipe please. I have read the ans to Q29 on the link suggested by Mary and it does indeed say the opposite to your advice?! I really had hoped you were right.

Hi Martina

Quite correct, it’s no longer allowed to fill any container using a hosepipe. Earlier advice given based on earlier rules. I’m afraid there have been numerous changes and apologise for any confusion.


I have a pond with koi and other ornamental fish in it, and the multi chamber filter needs to be cleaned regularly, which involves hosing off the filter media and filter sponges.

Otherwise pond water becomes toxic to the fish.

I live in Southern Water’s catchment.

The pond water does also evapourate and needs topping up, by hose.

Is this okay as wildlife is involved?

Please advise

Thank you



My mother doesn’t let me shower in the bath as i’m so hairy it clogs up the plug, im normally made to shower in the garden with a hose. I asked her if the hosepipe ban would affect me but she said no as it was an animal welfare issue.

is this correct?


I own a motor boat that is moored at Port Solent marina. Can I use a hose pipe to clean down the boat after a trip please? This is usually done to wash away any foreign bodies that may have become attached during the trip.

We a house with an outdoor pool. Now can with use the pool it all open and up and running. I do not want someone to complain to find out I should not be using it.
The pool does not need to be filled as you use the same water. As it is cleaned with chemicals. We also have to backwash and this water is sent to the manhole the pool might then need a small top up can this be done by a watering can and collecting rain water. So the water in the pool has been there for a few years. It is just not clear what are you allowed and not allowed to do.

From bournemouth…we r on a water meter and usually have a 10′ pool in the summer, are we allowed to fill this?

Hi Hose

Am I allowed to fill up my waterbuts with a hose after 5 April?



Hi Gill

No you’re not. Previously you could but it seems all water companies are now not allowing this.

One of your comments above said you could – thats why I checked – somebody is going to get into trouble!

Hi, I have an outdoor Jacuzzi/spa that needs its water replaced every 2-3 months. Does this fall foul of the restrictions, I see that swimming pools and paddling pools are specified.

Also, if I am able to fill the spa with a bucket (long task of course), the water meter readings would show a large draw, how would southern water check that its been done via a bucket and not a hose.


Hi Gav

It falls under the same rules as swimming and paddling pools, so you can’t use a hosepipe with it.

With regards your water meter I imagine it’s more a case of them proving you had used a hosepipe rather than you having to prove you didn’t.

Can I use bath water to water my garden by using a hosepipe to syphon water from
the bath straight onto the garden?

Can you please confirm that Hampshire and Isle of Wight are not subject yet to a hosepipe ban?

Hi Margaret

No hosepipe bans at the moment for Hampshire or the Isle of Wight. Hampshire is under ‘serious review’ though.

blue badge holder over 80.I am waiting until Easter for my grandchildren to assist me in the annual cleaning the top of my camper for safety reasons. It could be done now but I feel now but I am unhappy standing on the top by myself. can this be done ?.

Hi Frank

You can’t do it with a hosepipe but buckets of water can be used.

Hello. I have an enormous soakaway in my garden that is built from round concrete rings about 1.5 m in diameter built vertically with a manhole cover and it collects rainwater from the roof. I normally use this to fill up my pond. Can I continue to do this?

The pond has three fish.Thanks.

Can I use a hose pipe to draw water from my garden water butt with my high pressure Karcher that sucks. i.e no connection to water mains.

Worried somebody calls Southern Water and I’m not believed!

Hello, I have enquired to Southern Water regarding watering newly laid turf and they have told me categorically that I or any domestic customer CANNOT WATER with a hose or sprinkler newly laid turf even though it will die as a result. Only use of watering can filled from tap or hose allowed. Unless you take a month off work to do this eight hours a day i suggest not turfing as it will not survive.
Matthew Ledger-Treetops Tree Surgery-07765673384

Hi, I read above that Hampshire & IOW are currently NOT affected by this hopsepipe ban.

Can ‘Hose’ confirm this please?

When i wash my car I use a gun with a trigger on the end of the hose,I will use less water this way then using buckets

Is this not acceptable?

My mum is 83, she has a pond in her garden, not that big, but she has Toads, Frogs and even Newts in it. The papers say that you cannot use a hospipe to top up ponds. No way can she carry a watering can to keep it topped up.

I remember years ago when the last ban was on, you were allowed to top up wildlife ponds, is this still the case?

Does she need to get an exemption from the Water company still?

Hi Maria

Only ponds with animals can be topped up with a hose, as you suggest. She shouldn’t need a personal exemption for this, but if in doubt, give them a call.


As a window cleaner I also clean facias, soffits guttering and conservatories. How does the hose pipe ban affect my business as I us a jet wash in conjunction with my reach and wash.


I have been informed by a neighbour that people over 70 years of age will be exempt from the hosepipe ban if they are with South East Water. Please confirm.

Hi,I run a window cleaning and driveway cleaning business.I read that unless the business is solely driveway cleaning i can not clean drives using a hose.Is that correct.

Hi Stephen

Not heard that myself, so I’d suggest contacting the water company on the number given above to verify.

Hi, can I use the hosepipe to wash dog faeces down the sewer. I usually collect the dog waste from my garden in a bucket and then hose down the sewer rather than flush it all down the toilet. Can I use the hosepipe to do this?

Hi Tina

Tricky. Not sure it’d be classed as animal welfare or human health and safety. Best to phone them on the number above.

I am a Blue badge holder and am over 76, According to highlighted sentence in the opening of this Web-Site, I am exempt from the ban. Having read on I am even more confused. Pray, what is the correct information .


Hi Roger

No automatic exemptions from Southern Water. You have to phone and ask them (number avove) Some other companies giving this exemption automatically.

I hjave 5 horses 1 goat and 2 runner ducks spread out on 10 acres 4 of the horses live out all year the only way of watering them is by hose pipe. its a hard slog down to the bottom fields with water containers as I have had to do it in the past…. am I allowed to top up the trough’s with the hosepipe?

i work on a holiday park in camber and have an outdoor pool, i would noramlly fill it in early may, do i now have to fill it before 5th april ?

also i have had a big area laid with new turf, i need to water reguallry can i do that ?

Hi Peter

Yes, get it filled before the 5th. For the turf you’d need to phone Southern Water on the number above and see if they’ll let you.


If I let my dog run around my garden for half an hour while I’m “cleaning” him and this inadvertently waters my lawn/flowers/hanging baskets will I be in breach of the restrictions imposed?

I own a large dog which enjoys getting dirty in ponds/woods etc

Kindest regards

Jon (keen dog owner)

hi, thanks for letting me know. could i hose down my indoor sand school too, as that if for the welfare of mine and my liveries horses, as it gets so dusty that you cant even see the other end of the school when horses are in it, and has caused copd / rao on horses when used consistantly when not hosed down. and have no out door school. thanks for your help

Hi Danie

Difficult to say. Depends if a water company would see that as essential to animal welfare. Probably best to contact your local water company and ask them.

Then I believe then the definitions should be made clearer. A cricket square is in the same ball park as a bowling green or a golf green. It is definately not a garden or a lawn. They have a very delicate and balance eco system which require a minimal amount of water in which to survive. As a result every cricket club, bowling club and golf club in the south and south east will be affected.

Hi I am head groundsman for an independant school with a very busy cricket fixture list including some games against professional teams, intercounty matches and cup matches as well as daily school use. Water is a very essential part of wicket preparation and repair. Are we permitted to use water for that purpose, for which we would use a perferated hose?

Hi Jim

No, not allowed I’m afraid. Have a look above, under “In these prohibitions:” and the definition for gardens.

Southern Water regulations:

“The following are excepted from the prohibitions in this notice:

¢ Watering a grass surface used for regional, national or international sports events;”

Interpretation is down to you and Southern Water!

Also I use a hose to fill the duck and chicken water trays daily. It will take ages to go back & forth to fill. They are the blue shells kids use as sand pits.

Hi Gail

As long as you could convince the water company this is for animal welfare reasons then you’d be OK. I’d suspect they might say you should do that job with buckets though.

I run a bird boarding establishment and I jet wash my cages between occupants. Will i still be able to do this? It is the easiest & safest way to clean as birds are very sensitive to cleaning products.