What is a hosepipe ban? Kent and Sussex ban begins Yorkshire is announced

Last updated at 08:27
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A hosepipe ban is currently in place in parts of the UK, with more bans likely to be introduced to further areas in the coming weeks as the hot weather continues.

South East Water's ban for Kent and Sussex begins today, following Southern Water's for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight last Friday, whilst the Isle of Man has had a ban in place since July.

The restrictions on water use have been bought in in some areas after a lack of rainfall and extreme temperatures.

Thames Water has also announced it is planning to introduce a hosepipe ban, which will affect 15 million people across parts of southern England, including London.

Yorkshire Water also plan a hosepipe ban in the coming weeks - it will be the first hosepipe ban there in 27 years.

The UK is experiencing a heatwave and the Met Office has issued an amber extreme heat warning for much of England.

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People will not be allowed to use hosepipes to water plants during the temporary ban

In a statement Thames Water said: "Given the long term forecast of dry weather and another forecast of very hot temperatures coming this week we are planning to announce a temporary use ban in the coming weeks."

Similar measures have been announced by South East Water for Sussex and Kent to start on the 12 August, while in Wales a ban covering Pembrokeshire and a small part of Carmarthenshire on 19 August.

Read on to find out more about what these restrictions mean.

What is a hosepipe ban?
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People can use watering cans to water plants instead of a hosepipe

There are a number of things you can't use a hosepipe for during a ban including:

  • Cleaning cars or bikes
  • Watering plants
  • Filling up a pond which doesn't have fish

People can still use a watering can to water plants and a bucket with water to wash the car. Some people are also allowed to use one if it is for exceptional circumstances.

People can be fined depending on where they live if they break the rules.

Why has it been brought in?
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Southern Water has said the ban was a "vital step" to protect the habitats of the River Test and the River Itchen where it extracts water.

The period between January and June this year was the driest in England since 1976, according to the Met Office.

On Tuesday the UK Environment Agency's National Drought Group met to discuss a strategy to deal with exceptionally dry conditions across the whole of England.

Although they didn't say that there was a drought, everyone is being urged to use water wisely as many rivers are at very low levels.

Reservoirs are also at very low levels which could affect people's water supply.

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Reservoirs collect and store water during times of high rainfall and are usually formed by a dam built across a river.

The man-made lakes supply water to homes and business and are also used for hydropower or flood protection.

One of the reasons hosepipe bans can be brought in is when reservoirs have low levels of water.

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