Please note that the answers to these questions are for guidance only. Always clarify things with your local water company as rules do differ from company to company and year to year.

Got a question? Please email and we’ll try to answer it.

145 replies on “FAQs”

I am Head Teacher of a nursery school in London. We have a beautiful garden and I really want to be able to use a hosepipe to keep it green and alive for the children. Are we counted as a commercial property? We have to pay business rates?

We extract water from a well into a water butt where it’s chlorinated, then filtered and used to top the pool up. Would this still be allowed?

During a hosepipe ban, can I locate a water butt under an outside tap & top it up without using a hosepipe, and then connect up a hopsepipe to the water butt to water the garden ?

If I have a water butt, that in addition to being filled with rain water, is also filled with used bath/shower water but not, I repeat, NOT filled from the mains. Can I use a pressure washer that draws water from the water butt, ie, NOT connected to the mains tap, but rather, is connected to the water butt.

As this is not connected to mains water, is this allowed and if not, why not?

I would think this would be a legal fine line, everyone could simply run a bath to fill a butt and work around the ban. Id be careful with this.

If the bath is catching shower water or even a mid/shallow bath theres absolutely nothing wrong with capturing this grey water to use in garden etc. In fact i applaud your ideas & efforts to do so. I have just put a hose along my drain pipe & into my bathroom. That end is connected to a waterbutt pump that i put in my bathtub (when i have collected 2/3 days worth of shower water) & then it gets pumped onto my very large water butt to water the garden. I also have an integrated Pontos Aqua cycle grey water recycling system installed in my house which automatically captures all bath and sink water, filters it twice and sterilises it with UV radiation. This then gets automatically used for the toilets and the washing machine.

I store approximately 1,000 litres of rain and grey water from out shower and upstairs sinks. I also have two pumps to move the water around our garden to better distribute the volume. I would love to be the target of interest from our Utilities Company and/The Police!
No doubt, if a ban hit Manchester someone will report me.

I have just had a wall built in Herts. I need to use a jet spay to clear excess cement of the tiles and spay clean a shared car park area where cement has covered the area is this allowed with a pressure washer?

I am the gardener at a small hotel and we rely on weddings throughout the summer months as our main business , can we use a hosepipe to water our trees and shrubs which form backdrops for wedding photographs.


Can i clean my company car? i’m sure i read i couldn’t under local restrictions, but reading it now it clearly states private vehicles?

Also i am moving house next week from a rented place, I have to leave the property as clean as possible in order to get my deposit back. Can i use a pressure washer to clean?



Cleaning the company car is fine. You can’t clean property with a pressure washer unless it’s for health and safety reasons for instance a slippery surface.

Does the hosepipe ban mean councils have to shut off council run kids splash parks (i.e. the kinds where water squirts out the ground and the kids run around)?

My neighbour has just had their garden landscaped and new turf laid. This has been watered for the past five days (not continiously) with a sprinkler attached to a hosepipe.
After looking at Southern Waters website it appears that all that will happen if someone is reported is they will receive a letter saying “don’t do it again”. Is there any point in reporting them?

It gets quite dusty at the industrial estate where I work and my employers have told me to damp down the area using a water bowser/sprinkler system. It’s home made and pulled along by a tow vehicle and will use approx. 500 litres water per fill. It will be filled by our on-site water supply from the tap.

Personally, I think it’s a waste of water as the area dries out after 2-3 hours, but, during these drought conditions is damping down nuisance dust illegal?

My dog has bad diarrhea can i use the hose to wash the path and grass down, so my children dont get ill from playing in garden

can I fill water butts (2) using a hosepipe if they are empty before more rain fills them? It is for garden use only , veggies and flowers.

No you can’t fill water butts (or any container) with a hosepipe connected to mains water.

With a hosepipe: Only if you’re a professional gardener and only for 28 days. Otherwise it can be watered with a watering can.

Thank you, does this still apply if we as professionals lay it, but it will be the clients that end up watering most evenings? Can they still use a hosepipe

Yes, as long as laid by professionals, your client is then allowed to water with a hosepipe/sprinkler for 28 days.

You can use a hosepipe for health and safety reasons so if you’re happy this is a health and safety issue you may use it.

ignore it does it really matter, is it worth the hassle of reporting, i would say there are more important things in life than a neighbour using a hosepipe

We run a boarding cattery, what are we allowed to use a hosepipe for?
Apart from cleaning the cat runs the appearance of the grounds is very important, can we use a hosepipe to maintain the plants and ponds?

You can use a hosepipe for the welfare of your animals and any health and safety issues that may be caused for humans. So you can use it for your cat runs, but not for the appearance of your grounds.

I work at a public house where we used to clean the patio area every other day with a hosepipe is this still allowed?

Would a swimming pool that has been full all winter and the water is cleaned by filter in the pool be acceptable? Seeing as no water will be moving into the swimming pool during the hosepipe ban?

Or does that come under ‘maintaining a swimming pool’? Cheeeerrrsss

Would I be allowed to attach a hosepipe to an existing water butt which catches water from our roof, rather than carry water down a long garden to the veg patch?

Your site has resolved a few questions raised in the office about exemptions for Blue Badge holders. And the Blue Badge holder in question is going to be put in his place!

However, reading a number of comments and questions from other people, it’s clear that anyone installing a new lawn will face some problems, although not during this current wet spell.
I found this website
to which I have no allegiance, I hasten to add, and they cite the UK Water Industry Research Code of Practice. They are clear that it is only advisory, but it seems that, on application, South East Water will grant a 28 day exemption…

Hope that helps.

Harry Grainger

Thanks Harry. The link was removed as we no longer wish to link to anyone’s commercial websites, though you weren’t to know this.

All water companies can give any exemption on any of the hosepipe ban rules. It’s totally at their discretion.

In theory hot tubs are exempt, though you should check with your local water company for their interpretation of this.

Am I allowed to clean a paved enclosed used for chickens? They make an awful mess and it is a health hazard.

we are a lawn treatment company spraying lawns with fertiliser, weedkiller etc,our treatments are required to be watered in within 48 hours if theres no rain.
are we allowed to water our treatments in? are our customers allowed to water just that
particular treatment on our behalf, if not,this 28 year old buisness along with thousands
of other will cease to trade.

In theory you’re not allowed to do that at all. You should contact your local water company for clarification though as it’s obviously a very serious issue for you.

If we cann’t use our hosepipes will we get a refund on our water rates as I do believe I pay extra for using a hosepipe????

Water companies say you pay for a regular supply of water for drinking and washing, not for hosepipe use.

Hi, finding this all a bit strange, you say in an earlier answer it is ok to use an irrigation system but not to use a jet wash for cleaning car. A jet wash will use a lot less water than a bucket especially for rinsing off so it doesn’t make Sense, yet you can use as many buckets of water as you like to water garden? Can you clarify why a jet wash can’t be used for 5 mins which will prob be max 2 buckets yet rinsing with bucket would be at least twice as much?

Cheers, Colin

looking at the above post. where you have a boat yard or marina that provides a hose and water supply for this purpose as part of what your annual mooring fees are paying for, are you still able to use the hosepipe and flushing muffs to clear your engines at the boat yard?

I have a boat that i take out of the water after use ( pleasurecraft). The boat had a 5l inboard raw water cooled mercruiser that uses sea water when in the water. When taken out of the water a set of flush muffs are placed over the engine in order to flush our the salt water. Failure to do this accelerates deteriorsation of hte engine as salt water is left standing inside it so can cause considerable damage to the engine. Am I still allowed to flush the engine after use ( uses approx 3 buckets of water when flushing)



I have a conrainer whichi holds the same quantity as 2 buckets of water. The container uses the rinse water from my washing machine which I then mix with car wash/shampoo and clean the car with ( pouring the water into a busket) so basically the container is used as a small water butt).

Once cleaned I need to rinse offr the car and use about one bucket of water in a watering can. If i were to modify the water butt/container and fit a push fit standard hose connector on it, am i then able to use my bucket of clean water by connecting the container to my presssure washer via a short piece of hose.. ( basically hte same as just using one bucket of water to clean the car). Is this allowable as I am not using a hosepipe and also minimising to one bucket, water used.


The ban specifically mentions private motor vehicles, boats, trailers, paths etc however I cannot see any mention of cleaning a caravan ?
A motorhome would obviously come under the ‘motor’ vehicle, but what about a caravan as there is no motor ? Can I still clean a private caravan with a hosepipe ?

As the water companies start the hosepipe ban, will they be reducing the payments that the public has to pay because they will not be providing the required as provided in the terms and conditions of their policies?

Under the hose pipe ban in the Thames Water area, can a church use a hose pipe to fill a temporary total immersion pool for baptisms?

That’s up to the water companies and I’m sure they’d say “that’s up to the weather”. Some water companies have said at least for the summer and possibly into the new year.

my patio has green growth on it,making it slippy and dangerous, can i use a hosepipe pressure hose to clean it

I have chickens that are totally free range but I need to regularly clean the patio with a pressure washer to remove their droppings as this is a health risk, can I continue to do this?r

On the first question somebody asked about fitting a hose pipe to a water but, is this allowed during a hose pipe ban?

Not if the butt is filled from mains water. If it has rainwater or for instance bath water, then yes it can be taken off with a hosepipe.

What about a couple where one is registered disabled with a blue badge and the other isn’t? Does that mean, as long as the disabled person is using the hose to water the garden and the other is using a watering can, then this is ok?

Two part question…

I’ve read the regulations and they seem to ban not only use of a hosepipe for watering gardens, cleaning private cars etc. but also filling up a bucket or other container to then use for those purposes. This seems to be in contradiction to the advice you are giving, so which is correct?

Secondly, since the legislation bans the cleaning of private cars, what is the position for all these commercial hand car washes which have sprung up all over the place? Are they out of business, or is there some sort of exemption for them?

Hi Andy

Possibly old advice you read from us – things are changing regularly I’m afraid. Filling of buckets or containers is now not allowed through a hosepipe. OK from the tap.

Hand car wash firms can continue as businesses are exempt in many ways.


I run a car valeting buisness

I have to fill my water tank in my van up from a hose connected to my home which is registered as my company address.

Is it still ok to do this??

Thanks Tom

Hi Tom

Best to contact your local water company to clarify. Not sure about getting the water from your home address as it will depend on local rules.

Ive got a waterbutt recently and i know from a few fair comments on here about watering the gardening with a watering can – its back-breaking, so Ive purchased a water pump from Hoselock and its working a treat with all my old bath water. The only problem is using it in my front garden with all the neighbours out it looks the same water pressure as from a tap outside so what would you suggest is the best course of action when watering with a hosepipe if the neighbours see and may report me – ie shall I invite them around the back to look at the pump/waterbutt if they comment or put a note through peoples doors to pre-warn them I’m not ignoring the ban???

Hi Jane

First of all I’d say that you don’t have to worry about your neighbours reporting you as you’re doing nothing wrong. However, it’s obvious you don’t want to create any bad feeling either which is understandable.

If I were you I’d probably do as you suggest and let them know up front, one way or another. Apart from stopping any problems with them later, you may well be helping them out by passing on your good idea.

I live in a second floor flat and have an outside tap set up in my garden. It is fed via a hosepipe that runs from my bathroom out the window and over brick sheds.
Can I still fill my watering can from my ‘outside’ tap or do I have to walk up and down the stairs to my flat?

Hi Sharon

It’s a tricky one is that and really you’d need to ask your local water company. I would guess you’d be OK as it’s not really any different to having a proper piped-in outside tap.

i run a jet washing company cleaning drives patios and paths on various customers houses can i continue working ?

Hi Perry

You can continue working if your jet wash isn’t connected to a domestic property’s mains water. For instance you could connect to a water supply you bring yourself.

Should have added in my earlier post;
the hoselok tap adaptor will probably need to be the No.2177 unit (for larger diameter).

If this helps anybody:
Buy a 12volt “bilge pump” on ebay for £12 incl postage and a “Hoselok” type tap connector also on ebay for £3.35p incl postage.
Attach to a battery or to mains via a transformer.
Connect hosepipe and pump water from butts or bath.
It works; I’ve just done it!
Before anybody says that I cannot empty my bathwater via a hose, I emailed my water supplier before the ban was announced and asked that in the event of a ban, would I be liable to prosecution for using a hose to empty my bath and the reply was that it was acceptable.