Drought Restrictions FAQs

What activities are now restricted under the Temporary Use Ban (TUB)?

We are encouraging everyone to do their bit and help us save water to protect our rivers. We all need to use water wisely and avoid the following activities:  

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

How long do you anticipate the TUB will run for? 

The TUB will be in place until we have had enough rain, and the river flows go back up to near normal levels. 

Is there a risk to water supply? 

No, not directly. We’re asking you to reduce your water use because we need to urgently reduce the demand on the River Test and River Itchen, which is where some of your fresh water supply comes from. We need to protect these precious chalk streams from the increased demand that has been experienced because of the hot weather. 

To ensure customers’ water supply is not disrupted we have applied for a Drought Permit which means we can continue to take water from the River Test to a lower level than we are currently allowed. 

Will the TUBs apply to businesses in the affected areas or just household customers?  

The TUB is primarily focused on restricting household water use, but it also includes certain non-essential activities relating to upkeep of grounds of public service buildings and non-commercial workplaces. For example, activities such as filling or maintaining an ornamental fountain, watering gardens or cleaning paths and patios using a hosepipe at a workplace will be restricted. However, premises that have ponds with fish and other wildlife are able to continue to use whatever they need to keep the environment healthy.  

The TUB does not impose restrictions on essential and commercial uses of water. For example, commercial window cleaners and car washes, or businesses that need water as part of their operations like pharmaceutical companies and zoos.  

What should I do if I see a neighbour breaking the TUB?  

If you notice a neighbour, family or friend, in the affected areas, using water for the restricted activities please gently remind them of the restrictions in place and direct them to our website for more information.  

What happens if the TUB doesn’t work?  

If everyone reduces their water use, particularly through a challenging month like August, this will help reduce pressure on our rivers. To make sure customers’ water supplies are not disrupted we have applied for a Drought Permit, which means we can continue to take water from the River Test to a lower level than we are currently allowed.  

What are you doing to ensure the rivers are protected?  

Implementing TUBs will help to protect our rivers as it reduces the demand on water supply from these sources. Our Drought Permit also means we are putting in place extra environmental monitoring checks to ensure the habitat is sustained and healthy.   

We’ve also started a £9.5 million suite of environmental monitoring and improvement projects that are being developed and delivered by local environment organisations. One is working with Wessex Rivers Trust to build the resilience of the River Test and River Itchen. For example, Wessex Rivers Trust has implemented nine improvement schemes on the River Test in 2021 and we have pinpointed another eight sites for improvement work in autumn 2022.  

Do TUBs actually work?   

Yes, there is evidence to support that introducing TUBs does make a difference. If we all work together and reduce our water use, then water demand decreases and reduces the pressure on supply from the rivers.   

What are you doing to stop the reliance on our precious chalk streams?  

We are working hard to protect Hampshire’s chalk streams while maintaining water supplies for people, which of course includes reducing leakage and helping our customers be more water efficient.

We’re also developing new sources of water to reduce the amount that needs to be taken from the environment during a drought.

Our ‘Water for Life – Hampshire’ programme will transform the way we source, treat and supply water across the county and includes a proposal to use water recycling technology to top up the new reservoir at Havant Thicket that we’re building in partnership with Portsmouth Water.

Please visit our Water for Life Hampshire page for more information.

How can you enforce this?

We are asking our customers to help us by abiding by the hosepipe ban and hope that they will. The Act does give us powers to fine customers who ignore it up to £1,000. We hope it won’t come to that and everyone will play their part to protect our rivers. 

What about people who are elderly, registered disabled or are a blue badge holder and can’t carry a watering can?

Blue badge holders are automatically exempt from several restrictions, as are customers who are on our priority services register for reasons of reduced mobility. Please follow the following link for full details and look in the ‘What are you restricted from doing’ section of the page. Drought restrictions checker (southernwater.co.uk) 

People should not put themselves at risk unnecessarily. If you know someone who will be struggling to use a watering can, it would be great if you could offer them a helping hand. 

Can I use a hosepipe for my animals (e.g. horses / dogs)?

You can use your hosepipe to clean animals and their areas, e.g. yard or stable. We would ask you to be as efficient as possible when you do this. 

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