Talk to any gardener in southern England and they’re likely to have one topic on their mind: the hosepipe ban. We green-fingered types must put away our hoses and sprinklers and spend hours watering with a can.
The more adventurous among us will be getting to grips with complicated (and pricey) drip irrigation systems, water butt pumps and grey water siphons to help our precious plants to survive.
People who flout the ban risk a £1,000 fine, but will everyone play ball? Not according to a recent survey by B&Q. It found that 17% of people are planning to ignore the ban, and 85% wouldn’t dob on a neighbour in for using one.
This didn’t go down well with Alan Titchmarsh, who said: ‘It’s vital that gardeners do their bit to conserve water.’
Will suppliers weed out the water-wasters?
We asked some of the water companies imposing a ban how they intended to monitor hosepipe use. They all stressed that the £1,000 fine is a very last resort and that people are very rarely prosecuted; their aim is to work with their customers to help them reduce their water usage. Anglian Water told us:
‘We’re not asking neighbours to “inform” on people using a hosepipe, nor will we be employing anything like “water police”. If we hear of or see a customer using a hosepipe, our response will be to remind people about the drought, and why we have a hosepipe ban in the first place.’
That’s enough to make me comply – I don’t want a visit, however friendly, from my water company. So, I’m going to take some steps to make sure I won’t be left high and dry:
- I’m going to be careful with what bedding I plant in pots this year (drought-tolerant pelargoniums, here I come).
- Major replanting schemes will be put on hold.
- I’ll have a look into getting a water butt (sales have apparently gone ‘through the roof’).
- I’ll mulch every spare patch of soil at the allotment (where we’ve never been able to use a hose anyway).
- And – I can’t believe I’m saying this – I’ll be praying for some rain, because that’s going to make my life a hell of a lot easier.
How will the hosepipe ban affect you and will you comply? Would you dob on your neighbour if you saw them generously watering their garden with a hose?
How strongly will you support the hosepipe ban?
I'll do my bit but I won't report a neighbour if they infringe it (68%, 273 Votes)
I'll do my bit and will report a neighbour if they infringe it (19%, 78 Votes)
I won't do my bit (and my neighbours can do what they like) (13%, 52 Votes)
Total Voters: 403