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South East Water Hosepipe Ban Restrictions 2012

Updated 29/03/2012

This is the statement South East 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 South East 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.

South East Water’s statement:

South East Water gives notice that, pursuant to sections 76 and 76A-C of the Water Industry Act 1991, it prohibits from the beginning of 5 April 2012, throughout its entire area of supply (extending across parts of Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire and Berkshire), the following uses of potable water supplied by it (that is water treated to drinkable standards).

A full explanation of the definitions used is given beneath the table.

(a) Watering a garden using a hosepipe
(b) Cleaning a private motor-vehicle (or a trailer for such a vehicle) using a hosepipe
(c) Watering plants on domestic or other non-commercial premises using a hosepipe
(d) Cleaning a private leisure boat using a hosepipe
(e) Filling or maintaining a domestic swimming or paddling pool
(f) Drawing water, using a hosepipe, for domestic recreational use
(g) Filling or maintaining a domestic pond (manmade or natural) using a hosepipe
(h) Filling or maintaining an ornamental fountain (including a cascade or any other display of moving water, and includes filling by permanent plumbing)
(i) Cleaning walls, or windows, of domestic premises using a hosepipe
(j) Cleaning paths or patios using a hosepipe
(k) Cleaning other artificial outdoor surfaces using a hosepipe


The following will be exempted from the restriction:

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, private leisure boat 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 outdoor artificial 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;

vi) maintaining a domestic swimming pool with a water conservation recycling system;

Customers should note that a number of concessions earlier proposed have been withdrawn. [our highlight]


For the meaning of certain terms used in this notice and specific exceptions from the prohibitions, see the Water Use (Temporary Bans) Order 2010. Amongst other things, that Order defines:

(a) using a hosepipe to include both drawing water supplied by South East Water at the time of the prohibition through a hosepipe from a container and also filling or partly filling a container with such water by means of a hosepipe;

(b) garden to include 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(1) of the Allotments Act 1922, any area of allotment used for non-commercial purposes and any other green space; and

(c) health and safety to include removing or minimising any risk to human or animal health or safety and preventing or controlling the spread of causative agents or disease.

The topping up of an established domestic pond is also permitted if the welfare of fish in the pond is at risk.

For the purposes of the prohibitions relating to the use of a hosepipe, the prohibitions apply whether or not any device such as a sprinkler is attached to the hosepipe.

Any person who contravenes any of these prohibitions is guilty of an offence, and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £1,000.

Contact details here: South East Water

135 replies on “South East 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.

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

I am a koi carp keeper. I need to clean the pond filters weekly. This requires mains pressure from a hose. If I don’t clean the filters then several thousand pounds worth of koi will die before the summer is out. Can I use a hose for this?

Alternatively, I have an old well in the garden, can I rig up a pump and connect a hose to this?

Also, can I pressure wash a clients hazardous and slippery wooden deck in their back garden?

Can I fill an existing pond that has a mains inlet. The pond has just been repaired but because there was temperature issues with the paint curing, it only now ready to fill? Ive had to rescue numerous frogs during this process and about ten haven’t been so luckily. I’m worried as to how an unfilled 100 year old pond will effect the local ecology


I operate a Chauffeur Company from my home address (3 vehicles).
Can I wash my vehicles using a hosepipe as it’s for business purposes?

Not from your home address. Would need to be commercial premises, otherwise it’s a bucket and water.

I’m a pensioner living in an upstairs flat. I’ve got a small veg plot, 14′ x 16′, and a water butt. Can I use a hose pipe to fill the butt? There’s no way I can carry water downstairs to my garden.

Water butts or any other container can not be filled using a hosepipe.

I’m thinking of diverting the grey water from bath and sink to a water butt, then using a water butt pump for the lawn.

As far as I can tell this would be allowed by the rules, however have read some people have had visits in the past with “how do we know you arent just filling the bath up and emptying it to fill the butt”. Which seem silly to me, you make an effort to be green and then are guility until proved innocent.

According to govournemtn guidelines greywater can be used untreated if used with a few hours. I’m thinking my sons nighly bath can be used to water the new lawn the same night. Would this be allowed?

Although I do believe they should honour the original 28 day exemption for new lawns. Across the courty people must have spent hundrends of thousands on turf due to that. unfortunatley new turn cannot be left to go brown, that can only be done for an established lawn.


We are a landscaping company and have laid a lawn early last week, when your 28 day exemption for newly laid lawns was still applicable. We have now just read that as from the 29th March, the exemption to water newly laid lawns has now been removed.
Are you still honouring the 28 day exemption for a lawn that was laid previously to your recent update?
Many thanks

Guys its all about self self self. If everyone is sensible and saves water then we wont end up with standpipes in the street. It is not the end of the world if the lawn goes brown or a few decorative plants die. Think ahead and dont buy any plants that need lots of watering this summer. My neighbour is busy sprinkling his grass no doubt before the ban even though rain is forecast later, is that really in the spirit of this? It is just like the petrol queues, its all about having no impact on me because I am more important than everyone else. If we are all a bit more careful with water it will help us all, I find it sad that we have become such a selfish country.

Hi. I have installed a large rainwater harvesting system which takes all rainwater from my roof to a tank buried in the garden. This tank has an electric pump which delivers water to refill toilet cisterns and also to an outside tap. Can I use a hosepipe from this tap to water my garden?

Hi, I know someone has already asked about new lawns but I want to be really clear. I had a turf lawn laid last Thursday and was told by the gardener that I should water it every day for two weeks, am I going to be able to do this? Thanks

Hi Justine

Not allowed with a hosepipe now I’m afraid. Only way is with a watering can.

I have an outdoor shower up rigged using a hosepipe that i like to use during the warmer months, i wonder what the deal on that would be? I use less water than a regular shower as its a wee bit cold ….thanks for your help … great site

Hi Paddy

Sorry but you’ve got me totally stumped on that one! I’ve certainly never read anything about outdoor hosepipe powered showers being banned. Think you’ll need to ask South East Water directly about that 🙂

I run an off road bike business, and use my own bike when working.
Can I use a pressure washer on this under the business concession?
Or the Health & Safety concession, as it’s got to be clean to maintain it properly?

Hi Mat

Tricky one that and you should contact the water company yourself to ask as they may have to exempt you personally, assuming they agree.

Gardening is my business can I use a hose in other peoples gardens to water plants?

Hello, I have a small garden and have x3 mini jack Russell’s that go to the toilet on the garden limestone paving and bark chip flower beds. I usually pressure wash this clean and then wash it over wiith jeyes fluid for obvious health and safety reasons. Will I still be allowed to do this ? Eastbourne.

Hi Eastbourne

In theory you can do this but we’re seeking clarification.

South East Water do say you can use a hosepipe for health and safety reasons.

I have bark down in my garden to stop water evaporation, my cats go to toilet on this bark. In the past I have hosed this down for health reasons as I have a 3 year old who loves to play in the garden. Can I continue to do this?

Hi Emma

The water company will want to know if this is a health and safety issue that can be sorted out with a bucket rather than a hose.

I am not a blue badge holder but do receive attendance allowance, can I use a hose or must I struggle with a watering can.

Hi Jan

Blue badge holders only I’m afraid according to the rules above.

Can I just double check, if we are using a hosepipe run over the surface for 150 meters for the sole purpose of filling the water buckets for horses in their field that this does not contravene the hosepipe ban?

Hi Sue

For a definitive answer you should contact your local water company. If you can demonstrate this is for animal welfare purposes you should be allowed to do it. However, if the water company feels you can do this without a hosepipe it’s up to them if they say no.

Hi Garry

If you live in an area covered by the hosepipe ban, then the answer is no.

I can’t believe some of the comments on here. Does no one understand how potentially serious this situation is. The Water companies want to guarantee a supply coming into your home for drinking and batheing, not for washing cars bicycles and laying new turf. The main problem is everyone believes that these things are really in important in life, in the grand scheme of things its not…………… how many of you remeber the drought of 76? Get over yourselves and stop wasting water

That is the most sensible post on here! I remember the drought of ’76 and could not agree more.

Is the postcode area RG27 0QZ covered by hose pipe restrictions? I saw a map on TV last night outlining the proposed areas and it wasn’t covered?

Hi Trish

It’s classed as a garden, so same restrictions as above for gardens.

We have asked South East Water about the 28 days concession for watering in new turf as we had arranged for new turf to be laid long before the hosepipe ban. We have been told that it no longer applies. We stand to loose a lot of money if the turf dies and it is almost impossible to water it in using a watering can. We understand the importance of saving water but surely a small concession could be made – one week would be helpful as it will take hours to do manually. Incidentally we were told originally that we could water it and then on the same day told otherwise. It did not seem to matter that we would loose money. There’s no meeting people half way!!

Hi Anne

Thanks for letting us know and sorry to hear of your problem.

A very frustrating part of the ‘consultation period’ is that several important rules have changed, including this with new turf. It’s something we plan to look into this week.

And another thing… if the 28 day concession for turf is not lifted, I’m not about to wave goodby to £1000 worth of new lawn and just have it die. It is not realistic to water a lawn using a watering can, ultimately it needs a certain amount of water but will just take hours and hours to do! Maybe a wheel barrow with holes in the bottom, filled using the kettle.

How on earth can they keep changing the exemptions? I have had new turf laid, originally going ahead because I understood there to be a 28 day concession. Now it has been withdrawn? I called south east water they say the final list of concessions will be announced on 5th.


I live in the Newdigate area and have laid new turfs in my garden on the 26th March,
am I still allowed to water these for the 28 day period from that date by hosepipe to save them from dying ?

Hi Patrick

If you live in the South East Water area you need to contact them and ask for an exemption.

Can I connect a hose to a water butt filled by shower / bath water and rainwater only?

Comment posted 29th March seems to say that there is a 28 day exemption for new turf – but I can’t see that this is listed in the exemptions. Was that one of the earlier concessions now withdrawn? We have new turf being laid this week.

Hi Sam

Not the case now. Some water companies are allowing it, some aren’t. You’ll need to contact them and ask.

my partner is a window cleaner , he fills the tub in his van with a hose from his parents address can he continue to do this

Is it true that if you are a blue badge holder you are exempt from the hosepipe ban? If so, does the blue badge holder have to do the watering?

Hi Sabrina

True under South East Water. Yes the exemption is for the person with the blue badge only.

Are there restrictions for blue badge holders as to what you can water? Is it just plants, or does it apply to everything… i.e. lawns etc? I am not a blue badge holder myself, but I know several people that are, and the topic is bound to crop up with many arguments!

can you fill/top up water in hot tub? got message from swiiming pool chemicals that we can

My horse is stabled but not grazed on our property.
Can I use my hose to do his stable hay and water?

Hi Lynn

Hosepipes can be used as normal for animal welfare purposes.

I see no mention of wells and ground water. The article states potable treated water, does this mean I can still use a hose from a well or other ground water? Thanks for the website its good to have a source of informatrion

Hi Mary

In theory you should have no problem using wells and ground water but we recommend you contact your local water company as in some cases it’s still not allowed to run hosepipes from such sources.

Just recently planted fruit trees and newly planted hedging, can we use hosepipe to water these

Hi Jenny

Not unless South East Water will give you an exemption which is unlikely.

We have a number of chickens and cleaning their coop will be a nightmare without the hose and risk an increase of disease. Are we still able to use one to keep them clean and healthy?

Hi Laraine

You are still allowed to use a hosepipe in a case of animal welfare.

can I fill up my water butt using a hose. Southern water say yes you can, what about south eastern?

Hi Jess

We’re trying to clarify this with several water companies right now and will update once known.

My neighbour,s wife has a blue badge and drives a sports car. He waters his grass and washes the cars all the time. Can he continue to do so after the ban or does it need to be the blue badge holder who does the watering. He ignored the last ban… he exempt from this one? Thanks

Hi Clare

If you look at the rules about it states the blue badge exemption is only for the watering of plants and similar things, so they can’t do the car anyway. The gardening side of it must be done by the blue badge holder.

As I’m committed to having a new lawn laid by a professional company from Monday 2nd April, can I still use a sprinkler/hosepipe to water for the following 28 days in order to protect my investment? I had understood that a concession existed at the time I gave the go ahead to the contractor. Many thanks.

Hi Peter

Not applicable with all water companies. You should contact your local company and ask for an exemption.

We run a commercial Garage repairing cars, are we allowed to continue washing customers private cars with a hose?

i have ten chickens at the top of my garden can i use a hose pipe to fill there water containers

Why are my neighbours allowed to use hose pipes to wash their company cars, but I am not permitted to use one to protect the fish in my garden pond?

Durring the last five years, how much water has been lost by South Easter Water, due to leaks in the distribution system for which they are responsible?

Over that same period, what proportion of charges imposed on their customers has South Eastern Water reinvested to reduce such leakage?

How much of the revenue from customers has been invested to increase water storage capacity?

Hi Derek

You can top up a garden pond with a hosepipe if it has fish or other animals in it.

Can you please confirm that we can use a hosepipe to top up our pond which is stocked with fish.

Hi Jenny

This is written above “The topping up of an established domestic pond is also permitted if the welfare of fish in the pond is at risk.”

I am a Limited Company maintaining private lawns – feeding / weed killing etc. Our vans carry c 80 litres of water for spraying products, each van has a water tank currently filled using a hose from various domestic supplies – can we continue to do this ? Thanks for the advice.

Hi Andy

It’s the domestic supply bit that’s tricky. Best to speak to the water company to clarify I think.

Hi there, i run a small gardening business whereby we have a few jobs booked in for april cleaning customers patios using a pressure washer. Is this allowed?

Hi Richard

As a business you can do that and so can the general public if it can be passed off as a health and safety risk not to.

Old chestnut: What about a pressure washer? A hose is only used as an extention of a domstic water system. By rights I’m am using the pressure washer to wash the car and not the hose. So is it ok or not?

Hi Alan

A pressure washer is classed as a hosepipe if connect to a mains water supply. Hoespipe ban rules therefore apply.

I bath every evening and rather than waste the water I would like to siphon it out through the window of the upstairs bathroom using a hosepipe the following morning. We are not on mains drains and have our own septic tank system. Is that allowed?

I have a garden tap which splashes and wastes water, to solve this I fit an 18″ lenght of hose to the tap and put the hose in the can, no wasted water, will I have to remove my hose?