Hosepipe ban announced in the North West

The North West’s water company United Utilities has announced that it will impose a hosepipe ban (known as a Temporary Use Ban) following what is believed to be the longest heatwave since 1976.

The ban will come into force on Sunday 5 August, and there now follows a period of time for customers to provide feedback if they believe they should be exempt.

The ban will apply to domestic customers who get their water supply from United Utilities, with the exception of customers in Carlisle and the north Eden Valley, where supplies remain at reasonable levels.

Martin Padley, United Utilities Water Services Director, said: "Despite some recent rainfall, reservoir levels are still lower than we would expect at this time of year and, with forecasters predicting a return to hot dry weather for the rest of July, we are now at a point where we will need to impose some temporary restrictions on customers.

"It is not a decision we have taken lightly and we are enormously grateful to customers for having helped reduce the demand on our network over the last couple of weeks, but unless we get a period of sustained rainfall before 5 August these restrictions will help us safeguard essential water supplies for longer.

Whilst the ban restricts the use of hosepipes or sprinklers for watering private gardens and washing private cars, customers will still be able to water their gardens with a watering can and wash their vehicles using a bucket and sponge. These methods typically use a fraction of the amount of water a hosepipe or sprinkler uses.

The move by United Utilities is alongside the company’s continuing efforts to maintain essential supplies, such as maximising water abstraction from ground water supplies, moving water around its regional integrated network of pipes and running an extensive campaign to encourage customers to use water wisely.

For more water saving tips and information about the hosepipe ban please visit our website.

Notes to editors

Customers can find out whether they are in an area affected by the ban by entering their postcode into the search facility on our website from 17 July.

The exempt areas can be approximately described as:

  • Carlisle district
  • The North-Eastern corner of Eden district 

These areas are exempt because they receive their water from discrete supply network zones fed by local water sources which have not been so badly affected by the overall lack of rainfall. Water resource levels in these zones are considered adequate. The zones are not connected to the integrated network which serves the rest of the region.

Water facts and figures

  • A hosepipe uses 540 litres an hour, as much as a family of four would use in one day.
  • A sprinkler left running overnight uses as much water as a family of four would use in one week
  • A hosepipe ban can reduce water usage by 5-10 per cent (according to research by United Kingdom Water Industry Research)
  • In the North West this would amount to over 100 million litres per day