If there is a hosepipe ban, are you allowed to water your garden with a watering can?


Under previous hosepipe and sprinkler bans the use of watering cans, buckets and other water carrying devices has been perfectly acceptable for watering the garden, or for instance washing your car. During a ban you should always check with your local water company to see the specific rules they have in place of course.

It has also been generally accepted by the water companies in the past that a short piece of hose connected to a tap can be used to fill the watering can/bucket. Hence you’re actually using a hosepipe during a hosepipe ban!

The whole point of banning hosepipes and sprinklers is that they will tend to be left on for long periods of time and use up large amounts of water. Forcing you to use a watering can or bucket reduces the risk of using too much water.

28 replies on “If there is a hosepipe ban, are you allowed to water your garden with a watering can?”

There is no shortage of water in the South East as accepted by Southeast Water.
The problem is they have preferred to pay dividends to investors rather than invest in the infrastructure.
It would be interesting to find out under ‘freedom of information’ as to their plans on infrastructure investment over the last 20 odd years considering the number of houses that have been built.
I feel so sorry for those living with the consequences in the Wadhurst area.

More people = more houses
More houses = more water consumption

So why don’t the water companies either make the current reservoirs deeper or make new reservoirs or is it to save spending their profits? This is the same as all amenities I.e schools, gp, dentists. They build the houses but not the infrastructure

My neighbour told me that I can continue to use a hosepipe if I have a Blue Peter badge. Now I wish I’d tried harder to get one of those in the 1970s! 🙂

It always amazes me that every year the water companies introduce a hose pipe ban because we don’t have enough water. We are an island surrounded by water, so why not invest in technology to use that water and filter it for human consumption?

You cannot filter seawater to remove salt. Salt is dissolved in the water. The only way is desalination. Desalination is very expensive, prohibitively so considering we rarely suffer from drought.

You CAN filter seawater to remove salt – that’s how desalination works (AKA reverse osmosis).
Desalination requires power – that’s what makes it expensive -but we’ve got quite a lot of windmills out at sea that could generate the necessary electricity.

several of our neighbours have irrigation systems in their gardens which go on at least twice a day. I’ve been told these systems are exempt from hosepipe bans – is that right? If so will find a diy one and fit it myself

Rather than introduce bans, water companies should concentrate their attentions to fixing the myriad leaks in their networks.

660+ million gallons of water is lost EVERY DAY from leaks across the various networks.
If they paid less in bonuses to the top execs, and used that money to fix the leaks, there wouldn’t be a need for bans.

I hope they ban mechanical & hand car washes then!! peoples precious motors will work perfectly fine being a bit dusty for a few months!

I think even with out a hose pipe ban sprinklers should be banned. People go for dinner or fall a sleep and leave it going for hours on the same area. I’ve got a 200 ft garden and can do it in 20 to 30 minutes and they do it on grass which can recover, stop this selfish operation.

I can’t lift watering cans to water my garden because of my arthritis so what do I do if there’s a hosepipe ban

Maybe you could use a smaller container, like a jug, I know it would take longer but at least the plants won’t dry out. Either that or see if there is a volunteer group in your area who could help with the can.

If you contact your Water Board, you can ask for a special exemption for a variety of reasons: age, infirmity, etc. etc.
I registered with South East Water for their Priority Services Register which enables me to continue using a hosepipe.

If you are a blue badge holder you may be exempt, otherwise use an indoor watering can not too small but hold enough to water a few pots in the garden.

Can u uses a hose to fill up the water cans up for the garden and then water the garden with the water cans

You should be filling up directly from the tap or if you really need to, using a short length of hosepipe attached to the tap. But yes you can water the garden as much as you like with a watering can.

So – it seems to be acceptable to fill buckets and cans from a tap and use the water in the garden.
I have just done a calculation: let’s say I fill 2 buckets of 10 litres and carry them the few metres from the tap to my paddle pool and pour the water in, then return to the tap. This takes 1.5 minutes. If my pool takes 3,500 litres I’d need 175 runs. I could fill my pool in under 5 hours! Or get my other half to help and if we are well syncronized, we’ll do it in half the time.
Good work-out, too! Can we get the NHS or Weight-Watchers to support the idea as a fitness scheme?

I think the point that they are trying to make is that filling a pool (even using bucket or watering cans) is unacceptable during a drought as it is unnecessary use of a scarce resource.

No, you can’t fill a hot tub either. But you need only change the water in a hot tub a few times a year, so can just need to wait for the hosepipe ban to be lifted.

I have been musing over this for the last ten years and I must say, I don’t trust those timings. I don’t think it’s possible to fill two ten litre buckets, poor them in a pool and be back refilling them in 90 seconds. Certainly not 175 times in a row. Hopefully this can become a ‘TikTok Challenge’ and someone can prove me right or wrong.

I am thinking of using an old plastic WC cistern (with Hozelock hose
fitting) to hang on wall near veg bed. Dual flush will allow 1 or 2g
filling of watering can. While cistern filling I can empty the can. Will move
the unit to other parts of garden as needed. Easy to drain for winter. Would
it contravene a hose-pipe ban?

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