Hosepipe ban announced in the North West

Hosepipe ban announced in the North West

UPDATE:

The work United Utilities has been doing to conserve water supplies and abstract water from other sources, combined with the help from customers in reducing their own usage, as well as the recent rainfall and slightly cooler temperatures means they are now in a position to call off the hosepipe ban planned for this weekend.

This decision has been taken in the context of the improved position in our water resources and not wanting to inconvenience customers for a moment longer than is necessary. However, the long range forecast from the Met Office is one of relatively dry weather into the autumn, so future restrictions are still a possibility if more rain doesn’t arrive and if there is a significant increase in demand.

They are continuing to step up our response with our leakage teams working 24 hours a day to find and repair as many leaks as possible. The operational teams are out and about much more than usual making interventions such as installing new pumping stations, pumping between reservoirs, bringing ground water sources into use and prioritising maintenance to help ensure supplies are not interrupted during this prolonged dry spell.

As you would expect, all water companies are working closely with the Environment Agency in monitoring the situation to ensure there is enough water in supply right across the region while balancing the needs of customers and the impact on water sources and the local environment. We are still urging customers to help by using water wisely where they can.


The UK is experiencing what is thought to be the longest heatwave since 1976.

Whilst many have been enjoying the high temperatures, the good weather has meant that we have had around half the amount of rainfall we’d expect to see between May and June, with dry conditions challenging water resources. A lack of rainfall to replenish the stocks and storage means that reservoir levels are low.  

As a result of this, United Utilities have announced a planned hosepipe ban for the North West – this will be in place from 8am on the 5th August 2018.

To help our customers get ready for the ban, Unicom have put together the key things you need to know.

What is a hosepipe ban?

A hosepipe ban allows water companies to temporarily restrict a range of water uses by customers during drought conditions.

Hosepipe bans primarily target domestic customers but also place restrictions on some non-essential use by business customers.

Who will be affected by the hosepipe ban?

The ban will apply to 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.  To see if your area is affected, please use the address checker: www.unitedutilities.com. 

Why is a hosepipe ban necessary? 

As we’ve already mentioned, the high temperatures and lack of rainfall mean that water is in short supply. So, how will a hosepipe ban help this situation?  

  • 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. 

The hosepipe ban will ensure everyone has water for their essential needs, like keeping hydrated and showering. 

How long will the ban last?  

The ban will need to be in place until there is significant rainfall and reservoir levels return to normal. Unfortunately, nobody can predict the weather but United Utilities will not have the ban in place any longer than is absolutely necessary.  

What does the ban mean for my business? 

As a business, you will be allowed to use a hosepipe if this is directly related to the use of water for your commercial purposes. There are restrictions on you using a hosepipe if not for those essential needs – so using a hosepipe to clean a path outside your business property, for example, would be covered by the ban. More specific examples can be found on United Utilities here 

What action will be taken if I do use a hosepipe? 

United Utilities have the ability to enforce the ban but are mainly asking for your support in saving water during this period of low resources. Failure to respect it could result in a £1,000 fine.  

What do I do if I think I’m exempt from the ban?  

If you think you should be exempt from the ban you need to either write to United Utilities at www.unitedutilities.com or phone them on 0800 107 8861. Any applications for exemptions must be received by 17:00 on 4th August 2018. 

Want to know more? 

For more information on the ban, how to save water and a full list of FAQs please visit www.unitedutilities.com 

Even as a business water customer outside of the United Utilities region, cutting down on your water usage during these high temperatures will be really beneficial to all water supplies. Look out for some more tips on saving water in your business coming soon. In the meantime, don’t forget to check out our money saving tips for water here.