Is there a hosepipe ban? Date of Thames Water ban - London and South East areas affected and what you can do

Thames Water has confirmed the date a hosepipe ban will begin for its customers

Thames Water has become the latest water supplier to announce a hosepipe ban, following the declaration of a drought in England.

People across London and the Thames Valley will see restrictions come into place in the coming days.

Thames Water announced a hosepipe ban for its 15 million customers will begin on today (24 August).

Here is all you need to know:

What has Thames Water said?

In a statement on its website, the company said: “After the driest July on record, and below-average rainfall in 10 of the last 12 months, water levels in our rivers and reservoirs are much lower than usual.

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“We have more teams reducing leakage than ever before, working 24/7 to find and fix more than 1,100 leaks every week. The recent heatwaves mean that demand for water is also at record levels.

“We’ve been working around the clock to supply everyone, and customers have been brilliant at saving water where they can. But, with low rainfall forecast for the coming months, we now need to take the next step in our drought plan. Everything we do now will help protect supplies next summer and help the environment.

“We know these restrictions impact your day-to-day activities around your home and beyond, and we’re grateful for your support.”

A heatwave has been declared. (Photo by CARLOS JASSO / AFP) (Photo by CARLOS JASSO/AFP via Getty Images)

When does the hosepipe ban start?

Thames Water’s hosepipe ban will begin on today (24 August 2022). An end date has not been announced but Thames Water said it depends on the weather - and are looking for prolonged and significant rainfall, with the site to be updated when the ban can be lifted.

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What areas have the hosepipe ban?

On Thames Water’s site, the areas affected are for everyone they supply water to, even if you’re not billed directly. These areas are:

  • Aylesbury
  • Banbury
  • Cirencester
  • Swindon
  • Oxford
  • Newbury
  • Reading
  • Slough
  • Dartford
  • Croydon
  • Sevenoaks
  • Guildford
  • Godalming

What is a hosepipe ban?

A hosepipe ban is a temperary measure which restricts the outdoor use of water supplies.

It can be brought in during times of extra heat or dry weather.

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Earlier this month a drought was offiicially declared in eight areas of England by the National Drought Group (NDG), which comprises representatives from the Government, water companies, the Environment Agency (EA) and others.

The announcement included: Devon and Cornwall, Solent and South Downs, Kent and South London, Herts and North London, East Anglia, Thames, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire, and East Midlands.

What restrictions will be in place?

Thames Water has posted a list of restrictions on its website.

The company announced a ban on using your hosepipe for:

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  • Watering your garden or plants
  • Filling or maintaining your paddling pool, swimming pool or hot tub
  • Cleaning your vehicles
  • Cleaning windows, walls, paths, patios and other artificial outdoor surfaces like artificial grass
  • Recreational use like water fights and water slides

If you’re a Blue Badge holder or are on the company’s Priority Services Register with a mobility issue, you can still use a hose for:

  • Watering your garden/allotment and plants
  • Cleaning your vehicles
  • Cleaning windows, walls, paths, patios or other artificial outdoor surfaces like artificial grass
  • Filling or maintaining a domestic pond

Can you still use a watering can?

The company said that the ban applies to “hosepipes, and anything attached to them, like sprinklers and jet washers”.

However, people can still use mains water from a watering can or bucket instead of a hose – but the company asked customers to “please make every drop count and help protect the environment and our precious supplies by only using water where you really need to”.

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Since making the announcement, Thames Water has made some changes on what you can do. You can:

  • Use a hosepipe on an allotment – but not in a garden – to water food being grown there, where essential
  • Water new trees, grass and plants for the first 28 days from planting, whether you or a business has done the planting
  • Water sports pitches to maintain their commercial viability