Phases of drought restrictions

The tabs below show you the various stages of drought, examples of triggers we use to determine the stage of drought, the actions we will take and the restrictions we may apply. Click on the boxes below to find out more.

Phase
No restrictions


What happens during this phase?

No extra action or restrictions needed.

Restrictions

There are no restrictions during this phase.

Phase
Before restrictions


What happens during this phase?

We plan for this stage after:

One dry winter

Most of our water sources can survive one dry winter. Rivers and small reservoirs can struggle.

One dry summer

Long, hot periods in the summer can create a surge in demand for water.

Actions we will take

  • Increase our work to reduce leaks
  • Promote saving water and water efficiency advice and products
  • Media campaign to raise awareness of impending drought
  • Work with partner organisations
  • Operate our water sources in ‘drought mode’ – abstract more water from rivers and reservoirs in the winter to allow underground aquifers to recover for use in the summer

Restrictions

We will not apply any restrictions.

Phase
Temporary use ban


What happens during this phase?

We plan for this stage after:

Two dry winters

Aquifers and reservoirs come under pressure. Restrictions are usually needed at this point.

When a drought is declared we will take further actions to save and supply water, including introducing the first stage of restrictions – Temporary Use Bans.

Actions we will take

  • Bring forward schemes to get extra water
  • Put our regional drought strategy in place
  • Apply for drought permits to abstract more water where it is available
  • Increase supplies of water we get from neighbouring water companies
  • Reduce the amount of water we share with neighbouring water companies
  • Continue all previous supply activities
  • Plan for the possibility of a third dry winter

Restrictions

Exceptions

Using a hosepipe to water a garden for health or safety reasons.

Exceptions

A private motor vehicle does not include a public service vehicle or a goods vehicle.

  • Blue badge holders
  • Use of a hosepipe in the course of a business to clean private motor vehicles where this is done as a service to customers

Exceptions

Does not include watering plants that are grown or kept for sale or commercial use or that are part of a National Plant Collection or temporary garden or flower display.

  • Blue Badge holders
  • Use of an approved drip or trickle irrigation system fitted with a PRV and timer

Exceptions

(1) cleaning any area of a private leisure boat which, except for doors or windows, is enclosed by a roof and walls.

(2) Using a hosepipe to clean a private leisure boat for health or safety reasons

Exceptions

(1) filling or maintaining a pool where necessary in the course of its construction

(2) filling or maintaining a pool using a hand-held container which is filled with water drawn directly from a tap 

(3) filling or maintaining a pool that is designed, constructed or adapted for use in the course of a programme of medical treatment

(4) filling or maintaining a pool that is used for the purpose of decontaminating animals from infections or disease 

(5) filling or maintaining a pool used in the course of a programme of veterinary treatment

(6) filling or maintaining a pool in which fish or other aquatic animals are being reared or kept in captivity

Exceptions

Filling or maintaining a domestic pond in which fish or other aquatic animals are being reared or kept in captivity

Exceptions

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.

Exceptions

Using a hosepipe to clean the walls or windows of domestic premises for health or safety reasons

Exceptions

Using a hosepipe to clean paths or patios for health or safety reasons

Exceptions

Using a hosepipe to clean an artificial outdoor surface for health or safety reasons

Phase
Drought order restrictions


What happens during this phase?

We plan for this stage after: 

Three dry winters

We have yet to experience three dry winters, but our predictions suggest it could happen.

As a drought worsens, the range of water restrictions is made wider under both a second phase of Temporary Use Bans and the first stage of drought orders.

We also start making applications to the Environment Agency or Government to take more water from rivers and underground aquifers, if it is available.

Actions we will take

  • Increase the supplies of water we get from neighbouring water companies to the maximum available
  • Apply for or extend existing drought permits to abstract more water
  • Apply for drought orders to increase the amount of water we can abstract from unused sources or more sensitive locations
  • Make sure we are doing everything we can to reduce leaks

Restrictions

Watering the following plants on commercial premises using a hosepipe:

(a) plants which are in a pot or other container that is outdoors or under cover;
(b) plants which are in the ground under cover.

Exception

The purpose specified does not include watering plants that are:

(a) grown or kept for sale or commercial use; or

(b) part of a National Plant Collection or temporary
garden or flower display

Exception

The purpose does not include:

(a) filling or maintaining a pool that is open to the public;
(b) filling or maintaining a pool where necessary in the course of its construction;
(c) filling or maintaining a pool using a hand-held container which is filled with water drawn directly from a tap;
(d) filling or maintaining a pool that is designed, constructed or adapted for use in the course of a programme of medical treatment;
(e) filling or maintaining a pool that is used for the purpose of decontaminating animals from infections or disease;
(f) filling or maintaining a pool that is used in the course of a programme of veterinary treatment;
(g) filling or maintaining a pool in which fish or other aquatic animals are being reared or kept in captivity;
(h) filling or maintaining a pool that is for use by pupils of a school for school swimming lessons.

(3) For the purposes of paragraph (a), a pool is not open to the public if it may only be used by paying members of an affiliated club or organisation.

Exceptions

The purpose does not include:

(a) filling or maintaining a pond in which fish or other aquatic animals are being reared or kept in captivity;
(b) filling or maintaining a pond using a hand-held container which is filled with water drawn directly from a tap.
(3) The purpose specified in sub-paragraph (1)(b) does not include filling or maintaining a domestic pond using a hosepipe.

Operating a mechanical vehicle washer, whether automatic or not.

Cleaning any vehicle, boat, aircraft or railway rolling stock using a hosepipe.

Exceptions

Cleaning any vehicle, boat, aircraft or railway rolling stock for health or safety reasons.

Cleaning any of the following using a hosepipe:

(a) any exterior part of a non-domestic building other than a window;
(b) a non-domestic wall

Exceptions

Cleaning of any exterior part of a non-domestic building or a non-domestic wall for health or safety reasons.

Cleaning a window of a non-domestic building using a hosepipe other than for health or safety reasons.

Exceptions

Cleaning a window of a non-domestic building using a hosepipe for health or safety reasons.

Cleaning industrial plant using a hosepipe other than for health or safety reasons.

Exceptions

Cleaning industrial plant using a hosepipe other than for health or safety reasons

Suppressing dust using a hosepipe other than for health or safety reasons.

Exceptions

Suppressing dust using a hosepipe other than for health or safety reasons.

Operating a cistern in any building that is unoccupied and closed.

Phase
Lifting restrictions


What happens during this phase?

Period of awareness raising of water resources and lifting of restrictions.

Usual water company water efficiency and leakage activities.

Restrictions

There are no restrictions during this phase.

 
 
 
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