Thames Water hosepipe ban starts in parts of Surrey: what you can and can’t do

The Thames Water hosepipe ban in parts of Surrey started at 00.01am on Wednesday, August 24, meaning those that break the rules could be slapped with a £1,000 fine. It will be in place for Guildford, Godalming, and surrounding villages such as Dunsfold and Cranleigh.

Thames Water blamed the driest July on record for enforcing the ban with “water levels in our rivers and reservoirs are much lower than usual”. Sarah Bentley, Thames Water CEO, said: “Implementing a Temporary Use Ban for our customers has been a very difficult decision to make and one which we have not taken lightly. After months of below average rainfall and the recent extreme temperatures in July and August, water resources in our region are depleted. Despite investing in the largest leakage reduction programme in the UK, customer demand is at unprecedented levels and we now have to move into the next phase of our drought plan to conserve water, mitigate further risk and futureproof supplies.

“I’d like to thank all of our customers for the efforts they have already made to conserve water as a result of the media campaign we have been running since May. Reducing demand means reducing the amount of water we have to take from the environment at a time when it is under pressure. I would also like to apologise to our customers who have been affected by recent incidents, our dedicated colleagues are working around the clock to manage this challenging situation.”

READ MORE: Surrey villagers ‘filthy dirty all weekend’ after Thames Water leaves them three days without water

People can check whether a ban is in place in their area by entering their postcode on Water UK’s website to see who their water supplier is. Hosepipes will not be allowed in 11 scenarios, according to the water company, and there are 19 exemptions to the rules which are listed below.

When can I not use a hosepipe?

During the ban people will not be able to use a hosepipe for:

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

When you can use a hosepipe during the ban

There are some exemptions to the ban, but those that fit under the below criteria will need to contact Thames Water for permission.

  • Health and safety reasons, such as minimising risk to human or animal health or to prevent the spread of diseases, such as watering the garden; cleaning a private leisure boat; cleaning the walls and windows of homes; cleaning paths and patios; or cleaning artificial surfaces
  • to clean any area of a private leisure boat which, except for doors or windows, is enclosed by a roof and walls
  • Filling or maintaining a pool where necessary in the course of its construction
  • Filling or maintaining a pool using a hand-held container which is filled with water drawn directly from a tap
  • Filling or maintaining a pool that is designed, constructed or adapted for use in the course of a programme of medical treatment
  • Filling or maintaining a pool that is used for the purpose of decontaminating animals from infections or disease
  • Filling or maintaining a pool used in the course of a programme of veterinary treatment
  • Filling or maintaining a pool in which fish or other aquatic animals are being reared or kept in captivity
  • Using a hosepipe to fill or maintain a domestic pond in which fish or other aquatic animals are being reared or kept in captivity
  • Filling or maintaining an ornamental fountain which is in or near a fish pond and whose purpose is to supply sufficient oxygen to the water in the pond in order to keep the fish healthy
  • People with severe mobility problems who hold a current Blue Badge as issued by their local authority will not be prohibited from using a hosepipe to: water a garden attached to a domestic dwelling; clean a private motor vehicle; water plants on domestic or other non-commercial premises; water allotments where the Blue Badge holder is the tenant; fill or maintain a domestic pond; clean walls or windows of domestic premises; clean paths or patios; or clean other artificial surfaces
  • Using a hosepipe to clean: a private motor vehicle; a private leisure boat; walls and windows of domestic premises; paths or patios; or other outdoor artificial surfaces, where this is done as a service to customers in the course of a business
  • Watering a garden and watering plants on domestic or other non-commercial premises using an approved 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
  • Cleaning a private leisure boat if the vessel is a primary residence, in cases where fouling is causing increased fuel consumption or where engines are designed to be cleaned with a hosepipe
  • Using a hosepipe to water a garden or to water plants on domestic or other non-commercial premises where such watering is restricted to newly laid turf, newly sown lawns, newly planted trees, shrubs and plants where the laying, sowing or planting has been carried out as a service to customers in the course of a business. This exemption only applies for a period of 28 days from the day of planting, sowing or turf laying;
  • Customers on the Vulnerable Customers list who have mobility issues but are not in possession of a Blue Badge can use a hosepipe to: (a) water a garden, (b) clean a private motor vehicle, (c) water plants on domestic or other non-commercial premises, (d) fill or maintain a domestic pond, (e) clean walls or windows of domestic premises, (f) clean paths or patios or (g) clean other artificial outdoor surfaces;
  • Cleaning a private leisure boat using a hosepipe to prevent or control the spread of non-native and/or invasive species;
  • Filling or maintaining an ornamental fountain to operate water features with religious significance.

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