Regional hosepipe ban to affect millionsUnited Utilities announces North West hosepipe ban

09 July 2010

Water hosepipe ban

The north west of England will be hit with its first hosepipe ban for 14 years from today, prompted by dwindling water reservoir reserves.

United Utilities water customers will face restrictions on using hosepipes or sprinklers to water plants and lawns following the driest six months in the region since records began 74 years ago.

The ban is thought to affect nearly seven million people, including homes in Manchester and Liverpool - though Carlisle, Allerdale, Copeland and the north Eden Valley have escaped the restrictions so far. Those found flouting the rules face fines of up to £1,000.

Hosepipe ban - from 6am today

United Utilities water regulation and strategy manager John Sanders said: 'It is not a decision we have taken lightly, but a hosepipe can use as much water in an hour as a family of four would use in one day. This ban will help us to safeguard essential water supplies to our customers if the drought continues.' 

Around 462 million litres of water leak from water pipes in the region every day. United Utilities has an ongoing pipe repair programme in place and has so far replaced 10,000km of pipes.

You can get practical water-saving advice in our free guide to using less water. 

Beat the hosepipe ban

No other water companies have issued water restrictions (you can check out the situation in your area on the Environment Agency website) but even if you're not affected by this hosepipe ban you could consider a more water efficient alternative.

  • Use a watering can to water your plants.
  • Water your plants weekly rather than daily (though fruit and vegetables will require more regular watering).
  • Wash your car by hand using a bucket and sponge.
  • Invest in a water butt (discounted ones may be available from your local council) to collect rainwater throughout the year.

Water lobbying organisation WaterWise estimates a hosepipe uses up to 18 litres of water a minute and a sprinkler up to 1,000 litres an hour. In contrast, the humble watering can carries an average of 10 litres.

For more household tips on water saving gadgets - including water efficient washing machines, dishwashers and showerheads - take a look at our water saving products review.

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