Hose Pipe Bans - How to be Prepared

As temperatures are climbing year-on-year due to climate change, we are seeing longer periods without rain across the UK, making it harder for water companies to replenish reservoirs, resulting in our gardens being the hardest hit by these hose pipe bans. An example of this is with South West Water extending their hose pipe ban or Temporary Use Ban (TUB) for parts of Devon and Cornwall since the summer of 2022 until the 25th September 2023.

According to Tameside, 'The average hosepipe uses 170 litres of water for every 10 minutes that it is turned on. That’s almost 19 flushes of a toilet in just 10 minutes. In one hour, a hosepipe will use the same amount of water as a whole family would use in 2 days'. This is a phenomenal amount of water.


What are the normal rules for a hosepipe ban?

You cannot use a hosepipe to do certain tasks, such as:

  • Watering your garden lawn or plants
  • Using a paddling pool
  • Car cleaning
  • Cleaning walls or windows

There are some exceptions, including:

  • Watering a new lawn within 28 days of it being put down
  • To fill a fountain used for religious practices
  • For businesses
  • To fill pools needed for medical treatment
  • If you have a fish pond that requires topping up

If you are caught breaking the rules, you may be fined up to £1,000.




Below are a few tips which could help with conserving water and water usage before a ban comes in place.

1. Follow the Guidelines

Keep yourself updated on the specific restrictions implemented during the hosepipe ban. Check the website of your water supplier or listen to local news for the latest information.

2. Conserve Water

Adopt water-saving habits to reduce consumption. Use a watering can instead of a hosepipe to water plants, and avoid using large amounts of water for non-essential tasks such as washing cars or filling swimming pools.

According to the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) 'Plants can only effectively use water through their roots, taking water from the surrounding soil or compost. So water needs to get to where it’s needed, at the tip of the roots and not the leaves.' This can easily be achieved by a water can, by directing the water at the roots of the plants.


3. Install Water-saving devices

Fit taps and shower heads with aerators or flow restrictors to limit the water usage. These devices can help reduce water flow without sacrificing performance.

4. Collect Rainwater

Invest in a water butt or rainwater storage tank to collect rainwater for watering plants and gardens. This can provide an alternative water source during the hosepipe ban.

Water tanks

Water tanks provide an option to keeping things like gardening and car cleaning going during a hosepipe ban. 

Regularly topping up throughout the year through rainfall off a roof, you’ll be able to utilise the water collected during a hosepipe ban. 

There are plenty of options when it comes to purchasing a water tank as well. You can select a water tank that is best for your needs and suitable given the space you’ve got available. 


Water Butts

Also known as a rain barrel, a water butt is a container designed to collect and store rainwater. Typically placed under a down spout or connected to a gutter system to capture rainwater run-off from the roof of a building.

A water butt could save you 1,000 litres of water every year (dependent on the size of your water storage container). They also minimise the amount of rainwater entering our sewers, which can help prevent water companies flooding sewers into our streams and seas.

As rainwater is naturally soft and chemical-free, it is great for watering plants, promoting healthy plant growth and reducing the need for treated tap water. Rainwater from a water butt can also be used to for washing cars, or cleaning outdoor spaces to name but a few.

Water butts come with a tap or outlet, making it easy to decanter the water from the storage tanks for use within the garden or surrounding area.


Above Ground Rainwater Harvesting Tanks

As the water butt, this container is designed to collect and store rainwater above the ground. Also known as a rainwater storage tanks, these tanks are ideal if you have limited space or do not have the option to install an underground rainwater harvesting system. They can be placed in a convenient location, with minimal construction work, and is easy to install.

Offering flexibility in terms of size and design. They come in various capacities, allowing you to choose a tank size that suits your water storage needs. Additionally, you can easily add or remove tanks as per your requirements. With their easy access, you can monitor the water level, clean the tank, and perform maintenance tasks with ease.

Collected rainwater from above ground rainwater tanks can be used for various purposes such as watering plants, washing cars, or even for non-potable (not for human consumption) uses within your household.

Remember to check local regulations and guidelines regarding rainwater harvesting and storage in your area.


Below Ground Rainwater Harvesting Tanks

An underground rainwater harvesting tank, as the name suggests, is a tank which is buried underground to collect and store rainwater. Ideal if you have limited space above ground, so you can maximise the use of your property without sacrificing valuable surface area. 

Below ground rainwater harvesting tanks, tend to be larger tanks, which take up quite a bit of room, also they can look a bit daunting, so by burying them underground, you can keep your garden or landscape free from any above-ground structures, preserving the aesthetics of your property.

Within some areas, there may be regulations or restrictions on above-ground structures, so the below ground tanks offer a viable alternative that complies with the rules.

Being underground, the tanks are less exposed to sunlight, reducing the growth of algae and other microorganisms, that can affect the water quality. Additionally, being shielded from external elements like debris or contaminants, underground tanks offer better protection against potential water pollution, ensuring cleaner and safer water for various uses.

As per the above ground rainwater storage tanks, remember to consult with professionals and adhere to local regulations and guidelines regarding the installation of underground rainwater harvesting tanks.


Water Butts
Above Ground Rainwater Harvesting Tanks
Below Ground Rainwater Harvesting Tanks

5. Prioritise Water Usage

Focus on essential tasks that require water, such as cooking and personal hygiene. Limit non-essential activities, such as cleaning or washing clothes, to conserve water.



Remember, the hosepipe ban is in place to ensure the equitable and efficient use of water in times of drought or scarcity.

By being prepared and making water-saving adjustments, you can contribute to preserving this vital resource during the ban period.

What is Rainwater Harvesting?
What is Rainwater Harvesting?
A Guide to Underground Tanks
A Guide to Underground Tanks