The hosepipe ban: Will it change your water habits?

April 13, 2012, 3:16 PM GMT+0

On 5th April, seven water companies across Southern and Eastern England brought in a hosepipe ban, affecting 2 million people.

The ban ‒ the result of two very dry winters that have created 'drought conditions' in the area ‒ only affects domestic properties, which could be fined up to £1000 if resident are found using a hosepipe. Most of the suppliers expect the ban to last all summer.

What other suggestions could you make to save water?

Water companies say the bans are in place to preserve essential water supplies, and that they need customers to help cut down on their usage in order to preserve more. However, critics say a hosepipe ban is a misguided plan and the wrong way to tackle the issue of water conservation.

The Government has urged people to think about how they use water and whether the public could be more efficient in their consumption on the whole.

Labs participants have given their opinions on the hosepipe ban and whether the news of drought would make them change their water-usage habits, as well as sharing some of their top water-saving tips

The majority of respondents said that they would be happy to cut down on their water use, however, some are less inclined to change their behaviour ‒ mainly either because they are already water-conscious, or because they feel that the water companies and the Government need to improve the existing 'wasteful' system.

Most said that they try to be aware of how much water they use all the time, not just during a ban.

Are you affected by the hosepipe ban, and do you plan to change your water habits? Do you have any clever tips on cutting down on water usage? Join the discussion on Disqus below

Why some won't change their water usage habits

Here's what some of our labs participants had to say...

Argument 1: I already save water

“We just use what we needwe do not waste water. I have an old well in the garden that is always full with an electric pump to water the garden” Anon

We already are fairly frugal with day to day household use of water” TT, Whitstable

“I'm on a meter; therefore the price of water use is already a serious considerationAnon

“Despite having a sizable garden I have never used a hose for watering the garden and the same applies to cleaning our two cars” Mike P, Gt. Yarmouth

My water supply is metered so I restrict use as much as possible” Peter, London

“The garden can be hand watered from our own storage butts and the absence of a hose is an inconvenience rather than a disasterAnon

“I never use a hosepipe despite a large productive garden and always economise on use of water ‒ living in the South East it seems sensibleAnon

“I already take precautions to save water. We have an incentive because we live in a rural area and have our own cesspool ‒ we have to monitor and get this emptied, which makes you more conscious of how much water you are usingAnon

“I reduced the amount of water I used a long time ago as my water company charges a fortuneMike, Lincolnshire

“I take showers and recycle water where possible already. There is nothing more I can do to reduce water usageNik, Hemsworth

“I already use water very wisely, with preservation in mind. Saving water also saves energy, which is just as vital” Bruce, Staffordshire

Argument 2: Companies and the Government need to improve efficiency

“Why should I cut down when 350 million gallons of water are wasted through leaking pipes every day?” Del, Sussex

“I don't waste water generally; I only use what I need. I feel that more water is wasted by commercial users than domestic” Lynne, Essex

“The water companies make profits rather than improve or fix current water supplies” Anon

Water supplies are high in other areas of the country and supplies have previously been transported to other parts of the country to alleviate issues. The Government needs to implement plans to follow this course of action” Jack E, Norwich

“The water companies waste so much through leaks it's obscene ‒ will they charge me less if I use less water?” Anon, London

“I feel that the Government should force water companies to repair their leaking pipes before allowing hosepipe bans” Anon

“We have several water butts connected to our rainwater pipes. It should be compulsory for everyone to do this, but as always our Government does nothing about such important things” Pete, Luton

“There is plenty of rainfall/water in the country as a whole. The water companies are just not motivated to collect and save itPaul, Kent

“I already limit the amount of water I use in the home. My water company should get their own house in order before complaining about mine” Anon

“The Government should ensure increased resources are introduced to accommodate the exploding population” Anon, Surrey

“We are NOT a drought country, we are awash with water ‒ we simply mismanage it and blame the consumer whom pays through the nose for it” Eric, Bristol

“The water companies are paid to maintain and invest in the system, they have all stated they would rather have large profits than invest in what they call "a once every hundred years scenario." Their lack of foresight and planning is their faultAnon

Participants' top tips: Cutting down on water use

You may have already heard of some of the most common ways suggested to cut down on water ‒ collecting rainwater for the garden, using half flush on the toilet instead of full… but our Labs participants have shared more inventive ways to cope with the drought measures this summer:

Keep water cool with ice rather than running the tap for so long. I will wash the car less during the ban and will plant more drought resistant plants in pots this year!” Anon

“I will water the garden with leftover washing up waterAnon

“Use water-saving shower heads and tap fittings” Laurie, Brighton

Collect water from the tap while it runs through to get hot; use this for hand-flushing toilets or watering plants” Geoff, London

I have stopped the children (and wife!) from throwing drinking water away if they haven

't drunk it all ‒ I encourage them to put it on the plants in the garden instead” Paul P, Rickmansworth

Leave lawn and plants to fend for themselves ‒ they will probably survive!” Wendy G, Poole

Add more top dressing to flower and vegetable beds to reduce water evaporation” Chris S, Surrey

Keep water cool in the fridge to avoid having to run the tap on a hot day” Anon

“Save up dishes to wash more in one goAnon

"Everyone in the UK should be on a water meter like we are; it makes you think about the water you use a lot more” Pat, Cardiff

Link water butts to your guttering system to maximise the water you collect” Anon

“It would be very useful if all newly-built houses had underground rainwater capture tanks installed as standard, where possible” Anon

Increase the area of the garden covered by gravel not grass” Anon

Are you affected by the hosepipe ban, and do you plan to change your water habits? Do you have any clever tips on cutting down on water usage? Join the discussion on Disqus below

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