South East Water Hosepipe Ban Restrictions 2012

Updated 29/03/2012

This is the statement South East Water have made regarding their hosepipe ban water restrictions starting on April 5th 2012.

We will now use this page as the definitive guide on South East Water’s restrictions and exemptions. Please therefore refer back here if you have seen something contradictory on another part of our site which may have been written when other rules applied.

You may comment or ask questions using the comments box at the bottom of this page.

South East Water’s statement:

South East Water gives notice that, pursuant to sections 76 and 76A-C of the Water Industry Act 1991, it prohibits from the beginning of 5 April 2012, throughout its entire area of supply (extending across parts of Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire and Berkshire), the following uses of potable water supplied by it (that is water treated to drinkable standards).

A full explanation of the definitions used is given beneath the table.

(a) Watering a garden using a hosepipe
(b) Cleaning a private motor-vehicle (or a trailer for such a vehicle) using a hosepipe
(c) Watering plants on domestic or other non-commercial premises using a hosepipe
(d) Cleaning a private leisure boat using a hosepipe
(e) Filling or maintaining a domestic swimming or paddling pool
(f) Drawing water, using a hosepipe, for domestic recreational use
(g) Filling or maintaining a domestic pond (manmade or natural) using a hosepipe
(h) Filling or maintaining an ornamental fountain (including a cascade or any other display of moving water, and includes filling by permanent plumbing)
(i) Cleaning walls, or windows, of domestic premises using a hosepipe
(j) Cleaning paths or patios using a hosepipe
(k) Cleaning other artificial outdoor surfaces using a hosepipe


The following will be exempted from the restriction:

i) using a hosepipe in a garden or for cleaning walls or windows of domestic premises, paths or patios, a private leisure boat or an artificial outdoor surface, where such use is necessary for health and safety reasons;

ii) watering a garden attached to a domestic dwelling or watering plants on domestic premises using a hosepipe, by people with severe mobility problems who hold a current Blue Badge as issued by their local authority;

iii) using a hosepipe to clean a private motor vehicle, private leisure boat or walls and windows of domestic premises, where this is done as a service to customers in the course of a business;

iv) using a hosepipe to water an area of grass or outdoor artificial surfaces used for sport or recreation, where this is required in connection with a national or international sports event;

v) drip or trickle irrigation watering systems, fitted with a pressure reducing valve and a timer, that are not handheld, that place water drip by drip directly onto the soil surface or beneath the soil surface, without any surface run off or dispersion of water through the air using a jet or mist;

vi) maintaining a domestic swimming pool with a water conservation recycling system;

Customers should note that a number of concessions earlier proposed have been withdrawn. [our highlight]


For the meaning of certain terms used in this notice and specific exceptions from the prohibitions, see the Water Use (Temporary Bans) Order 2010. Amongst other things, that Order defines:

(a) using a hosepipe to include both drawing water supplied by South East Water at the time of the prohibition through a hosepipe from a container and also filling or partly filling a container with such water by means of a hosepipe;

(b) garden to include a park, gardens open to the public, a lawn, a grass verge, an area of grass used for sport or recreation, an allotment garden as defined in section 22(1) of the Allotments Act 1922, any area of allotment used for non-commercial purposes and any other green space; and

(c) health and safety to include removing or minimising any risk to human or animal health or safety and preventing or controlling the spread of causative agents or disease.

The topping up of an established domestic pond is also permitted if the welfare of fish in the pond is at risk.

For the purposes of the prohibitions relating to the use of a hosepipe, the prohibitions apply whether or not any device such as a sprinkler is attached to the hosepipe.

Any person who contravenes any of these prohibitions is guilty of an offence, and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £1,000.

Contact details here: South East Water

29 Comments on South East Water Hosepipe Ban Restrictions 2012

  1. I have an outdoor shower up rigged using a hosepipe that i like to use during the warmer months, i wonder what the deal on that would be? I use less water than a regular shower as its a wee bit cold ….thanks for your help … great site

    • Hi Paddy

      Sorry but you’ve got me totally stumped on that one! I’ve certainly never read anything about outdoor hosepipe powered showers being banned. Think you’ll need to ask South East Water directly about that 🙂

  2. Hi, I know someone has already asked about new lawns but I want to be really clear. I had a turf lawn laid last Thursday and was told by the gardener that I should water it every day for two weeks, am I going to be able to do this? Thanks

  3. Hi. I have installed a large rainwater harvesting system which takes all rainwater from my roof to a tank buried in the garden. This tank has an electric pump which delivers water to refill toilet cisterns and also to an outside tap. Can I use a hosepipe from this tap to water my garden?

  4. Guys its all about self self self. If everyone is sensible and saves water then we wont end up with standpipes in the street. It is not the end of the world if the lawn goes brown or a few decorative plants die. Think ahead and dont buy any plants that need lots of watering this summer. My neighbour is busy sprinkling his grass no doubt before the ban even though rain is forecast later, is that really in the spirit of this? It is just like the petrol queues, its all about having no impact on me because I am more important than everyone else. If we are all a bit more careful with water it will help us all, I find it sad that we have become such a selfish country.

  5. Hi,

    We are a landscaping company and have laid a lawn early last week, when your 28 day exemption for newly laid lawns was still applicable. We have now just read that as from the 29th March, the exemption to water newly laid lawns has now been removed.
    Are you still honouring the 28 day exemption for a lawn that was laid previously to your recent update?
    Many thanks

  6. I’m told pensioners are exempt from this ban. Is it true?

  7. I’m thinking of diverting the grey water from bath and sink to a water butt, then using a water butt pump for the lawn.

    As far as I can tell this would be allowed by the rules, however have read some people have had visits in the past with “how do we know you arent just filling the bath up and emptying it to fill the butt”. Which seem silly to me, you make an effort to be green and then are guility until proved innocent.

    According to govournemtn guidelines greywater can be used untreated if used with a few hours. I’m thinking my sons nighly bath can be used to water the new lawn the same night. Would this be allowed?

    Although I do believe they should honour the original 28 day exemption for new lawns. Across the courty people must have spent hundrends of thousands on turf due to that. unfortunatley new turn cannot be left to go brown, that can only be done for an established lawn.

  8. I’m a pensioner living in an upstairs flat. I’ve got a small veg plot, 14′ x 16′, and a water butt. Can I use a hose pipe to fill the butt? There’s no way I can carry water downstairs to my garden.

  9. Hi

    I operate a Chauffeur Company from my home address (3 vehicles).
    Can I wash my vehicles using a hosepipe as it’s for business purposes?

    • Not from your home address. Would need to be commercial premises, otherwise it’s a bucket and water.

  10. Hose pipe abuser // April 5, 2012 at 3:21 pm //

    You’re all losers.

  11. can I jet wash a court yard on commercial premises

  12. Can I fill an existing pond that has a mains inlet. The pond has just been repaired but because there was temperature issues with the paint curing, it only now ready to fill? Ive had to rescue numerous frogs during this process and about ten haven’t been so luckily. I’m worried as to how an unfilled 100 year old pond will effect the local ecology

  13. Also, can I pressure wash a clients hazardous and slippery wooden deck in their back garden?

  14. I am a koi carp keeper. I need to clean the pond filters weekly. This requires mains pressure from a hose. If I don’t clean the filters then several thousand pounds worth of koi will die before the summer is out. Can I use a hose for this?

    Alternatively, I have an old well in the garden, can I rig up a pump and connect a hose to this?

  15. I Live in GU area is the hosepipe ban in force for this area

    • We are unable to give advice on post codes that may be affected. Please contact your local water company.

  16. Questions are now closed for this section as the same questions have been answered many times. Please look through the previous questions and read the rules written at the top of the page.

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