The National Allotment Society - National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners Ltd

Temporary Use Ban on hosepipe use

The current spell of hot weather is putting an enormous strain on our water supplies  and Water Companies  currently encouraging their customers to take  shorter showers and not use unattended hosepipes - the first step in their Drought Plans. The next step in the Drought Plan for Water Companies would be a Temporary Use Ban (TUB) , which would restrict the use of hosepipes for watering crops or filling water butts on an allotment site where hosepipe use is permitted; many sites do not allow hose pipe use at all for watering crops.

Discretionary Exemptions from this order can be applied for by Blue Badge holders on the grounds of disability or by customers on the company’s Vulnerable Customers List who have mobility issues but are not in possession of a Blue Badge. The process varies from company to company and the first step, in the event of a temporary use ban, for a disabled plot-holder would be to contact the local water company to ask about how to apply for an exemption.

At the moment there is only a hosepipe ban - or to be more correct a Temporary Use Ban (TUB), in Northern Ireland.

United Utilities in North West England have announced a TUB from the 5 August. During the ban you can still water food crops at domestic premises or allotments using a hosepipe, if hosepipe use is permitted on your site. However  they are appealing for plot-holders to use the hose to fill up water butts and then use a watering can.

This TUB restricts using a hosepipe or sprinkler in the circumstance below

Watering ornamental plants in a garden or allotment  using a hosepipe
Cleaning a private car, van, motorbike, trailer, caravan or leisure boat using a hosepipe
Filling or maintaining a domestic swimming pool, paddling pool or ornamental fountain
Cleaning walls or windows using a hosepipe
Using a water from a hosepipe for domestic recreational use
Cleaning paths or patios using a hosepipe
Cleaning other artificial outdoor surfaces using a hosepipe.

You can still use water outdoors if you: Use tap water to fill a bucket or watering can, use grey water, which is water that’s been used before ie bath water or have your own water supply such as a private borehole.

You can still use water outdoors and a hosepipe if you  are a Blue Badge holder on the grounds of disability or on the company’s Vulnerable Customers List who have mobility issues but are not in possession of a Blue Badge, if you want to apply for an exemption from these water restrictions due to a requirement not currently outlined in the exceptions, you can apply on-line.

They are taking this step to make sure they have enough water for more essential things like drinking, washing and cooking. A small number of postcode areas in Cumbria are not currently affected by the ban. Click here for more details.

Check out the website of your local water supplier for tips on water saving; we should all be taking steps to keep water use to a minimum. There is advice on gardening in a drought on this page of our website Click here  and our leaflet about Water Use on Allotments can be found here

Watering Wisely

  • Only water early in the morning or the evening
  • Soak the soil not the foliage
  • Only water those crops that need it and at the right stage of development

Gardeners who use mulch or dig in lots of organic materials and keep the weeds down will not have as much need to water.

Click here for more information about Temporary Use Bans. Companies will inform customers in a variety of ways if they are going to impose restrictions on hosepipe use.

Allotment fires  - the Society would also like to ask Plot-holders to exercise caution when considering having a BBQ or bonfire on plots at the moment, the grass is tinder dry and fires can smoulder and re-ignite very easily. There have already been several allotment fires over the last few weeks where sheds have been destroyed and animals killed.