/ Home & Energy

Hosepipe bans – are you sceptical or will you do your bit?

Hosepipe bans are on the way for much of the country this week, but will this really affect your day to day water usage? And what does it mean for the UK in the long term?

Roughly a quarter of the parched isle of Great Britain is officially in drought (and much of the rest is facing snow, that’s British weather for you) so several water companies have issued hosepipe bans.

Big publicity stuff, with a furore over the weekend with the Sun claiming water companies are wasting more water through leaks than they would save through hosepipe bans. This is something commenter Lessismore has criticised before:

‘We might take the idea of a drought more seriously and restrict our use of water in the shower if we didn’t see water from broken water pipes rushing down the street for days on end.’

But putting that to one side, is the hosepipe ban going to shape your spring and summer?

Water shortages and hosepipe bans

At the moment, south east England, East Anglia and parts of Yorkshire are in drought, other areas are at high risk and restrictions are on their way. Living in London, this feels like a ‘phoney war’ on a water shortage that I’m not really feeling the effects of.

So, with hosepipe bans implemented around the country, what will we have to do without? No more washing your car with a hosepipe; no filling up your swimming or paddling pools; no topping up ornamental (i.e. fish-free) ponds; no watering plants with a hose; and no recreational use of water – so no slip ‘n’ slide.

At the moment this probably won’t affect too many of us. It’s a bit too cold to take a dip if you’re lucky enough to have a pool. And the south east, being one of Europe’s most densely populated regions, has enough people crammed into flats and glorified broom cupboards that many don’t have a garden, let alone a hosepipe to water it with.

Generally it’s cleaning your car that will be hit hardest, though there’s been no word on whether your local car wash will be affected.

Future water use

We may moan about these water saving measures, but will they actually change our behaviour? Our previous Conversation on the drought came up with a few suggestions on how to cutback on water, from killing the tap when brushing your teeth to installing water-saving gadgets in your loo. But should we be looking at the bigger picture?

I was in Australia earlier this year and it’s now in a rainy season after its longest-ever drought. Down under the recent extreme summers have prompted head scratching, including whether the way people farm is to blame and whether people need to change the way they use water in the longer term.

If our ‘freakish’ dry spell becomes the norm, we may need to ask similarly difficult questions in the UK, and get a little more creative than just dry runs on a slip ‘n’ slide.

Do you think we’re too complacent about our water usage? Has a hosepipe ban been implemented in your area and will it make a difference to how you use water on a daily basis?

Comments
Guest
mark burbidge says:
2 April 2012

why can’t we get water from the sea look at countries that get little rain every year spain the med

Guest

Unfortunately it is still massively expensive. Even high-tech, wealthy (and soggy) Singapore is still only experimenting with desalination http://www.economist.com/node/21524186

Guest

“Unfortunately it is still massively expensive”. The South Coast, where most water is drawn from natural aquifers which feed the increasingly dry chalk rivers, is also one of our sunniest regions. I wonder about the feasibility of using solar power to provide the energy for desalination plants to supplement the supply in this area?

Guest

It’s a good excuse not to wash the car, other than keeping the lights and number plates clean.

Guest
Sophie Gilbert says:
2 April 2012

I was brought up in the south east of France (Provence/Med) and the lesson to learn from there is that water is precious and not to waste it: have a shower rather than a bath, turn off the tap while you are brushing your teeth, do the washing up in a sink full of hot water and not under the running hot tap, wash the car using a bucket (sorry, Wavechange, you can’t escape this one ;0) ), and so on and so forth, we all know the drill. And this is throughout the year, never mind when there’s a ban. Water companies are wasteful enough themselves without our adding to the problem.

Guest

You are a hard taskmaster Sophie. I’ll think about washing the car with a bucket of water.

One thing I often do is to wipe rain o. the morning dew off the windowsills and the top of the car, which uses no water (other than to wash the cloth or sponge) and is fairly effective at removing muck if done frequently.

Guest
Sophie Gilbert says:
2 April 2012

I forgot to say that I stay in Edinburgh, where there is no ban. We may never run out of water in Scotland, but 1, we’ve had too little rain for quite a while now; 2, lessons learned in childhood are seldom forgotten; and 3, I care about the environment.

Guest

It’d have to be pretty dry for a long time to make Scotland have a ban as the population density is much lower than SE England. Compared with the rest of the country there’s a lot of man-made water storage in Scotland as well thanks to the hydro power plants in the Highlands.

Guest

I will obey the hosepipe ban – As I can still use it for the dogs – the garden is not overly water dependant.
I don’t wash my car – I found that it doesn’t ever look too dirty – but it does mean it doesn’t get stolen. When I used to clean my cars regularly they were stolen,

Guest

Water harvesting is the answer. And it’s not difficult.

I bought a 750 gallon rainwater tank a few years ago and it sits under my back window looking surprisingly innocuous. The down pipe from the back half of the house roof feeds it and it fills to overflowing in just one night of heavy rain.
The water in the full tank lets me water my (quite large by modern standards) garden, with a hosepipe and a pump, for at least 3 full waterings.

In prolonged dry spells I divert the shower and wash basin “grey” water to it. This is less pleasant than rainwater and can develop a bit of a whiff over a number of hot days, but it’s fine for the garden.

I also have an old oak whiskey barrel sat the side of the greenhouse into which greenhouse roof and hut roof rainwater drains. That has a pump into the greenhouse and I can water everything in the greenhouse for at least a week from a full barrel.

In dire circumstances I can even run the hosepipe form the water tank by the house to the oak barrel by the greenhouse to transfer water to where it’s most needed, thus using bathroom “grey” water in the greenhouse.

If I had suitable access I could have had a much bigger tank buried under my lawn and routinely harvested ALL the rain from ALL of the house roof AND all the “grey” water too, but I’m afraid my garden opens for charity so massive and slow-recovery jobs like that are not yet on the cards.

I will follow any ban that there is, but I have to say that the point about seeing millions of gallons leak from water board pipes is a very valid one. The last time we had a hosepipe ban that affected me I was on to the papers like shot because it came 4 months after Yorkshire Water had employed sub-contractors to replace all the Fire Hydrants in the streets round here. They did that in the January one year and every single one of the new hydrants was left leaking at a very fast rate, leaving sheets of ice over the roads for week on end. Many people reported the leaks many times and each time we were all told that they were “in a system of priority”, but come the April of the sam year we had a hosepipe ban and still all the hydrants were pouring gallons into the road. The papers came and took pictures of some of the leaks that were so fierce that the force of the water was lifting the iron covers off the hydrants. Oddly enough when the paper published the pictures and pointed out the irony of a hosepipe ban with this going on, the water board men were out within 12 hours digging them all up and doing the job properly.

It does always make me wonder if we would ever need a hosepipe ban or to declare a drought ever again if all the leaking mains were fixed.

Guest

I collect rainwater from the garage roof but the plastic container develops a layer of unpleasant smelling black organic sludge at the bottom. This surprises me because the garage is not under a tree. Do you have this problem with your large tank, Dave?

Guest

@Wavechange.

I’ve not had this problem with my big tank, no. The oak barrel by the greenhouse does have a nasty thick layer of sludge in the bottom, which smells utterly foul if it is stirred up. But that’s because the hut and the greenhouse are both over-hung by trees and so there are loads of leaves washed into the barrel, and also the greenhouse is very close to all the bird feeders and so sunflower husks, spilled seed and lots of bird poo also find their way into this.

Guest

Thanks Dave. I don’t have problem with leaves on my garage roof but I suspect that birds and their effluent might be the problem.

Guest

I take it that I am still allowed to syphon ‘grey’ water (from a morning shower) into my garden using a hose? It would be a waste to just let this water flow down the plug but I’m worried I’ll get fined for using a hose.

Guest

I can’t see why not as it is waste water rather than potable water. Perhaps if you store it in a water butt then it will be more obvious to any snoopers.

Guest

Each and every water company has forgotten to send their customers a single letter and leaflets about hosepipe bans and what to do and what not to do. If they can send the bill then they should give proper advice to their customers. Why are the car wash companies allowed to use unlimited water?
Another confusion after the petrol saga !

Guest

We just received our metered water bill from Anglian Water for the next half year – £300 – but no effort has been made to include details of the hosepipe ban. Looking more closely at the charges there is an assumption that 90% of the water taken goes back into the sewers so the serewerage charge is almost as high as the water supply charge. Unless we can prove that a high percentage of the water drawn from the supply goes back into the ground and not down drains or via run-off onto the highway there is no relief from this level of charge.
We do water the garden quite a lot during dry periods because we have invested heavily in it and, because of its siting, it is almost all on display. Obviously we will comply with the ban but the water butts do not last long during hot spells and lugging water cans around is no joke. We have a trickle irrigation system covering part of the garden and it seems that so long as this is operated via a timer and pressure reducing valve it is permitted during the ban. We shall be looking to extend the system all round the garden. Apparently there is no maximum permitted time for operating a timer-controlled system. With sensible monitoring and control this should keep the more vulnerable plants and flowers alive while misinimsing consumption. Pots, boxes and tubs are the bane because they need much more watering due to leakage and evaporation; we no longer have hanging baskets which took proportionately more.
Looking at Anglian Water’s website details of the implications of the ban, I see that use of a hosepipe is permitted “in the course of a business to clean a private motor vehicle, or for cleaning walls or windows of domestic premises, paths or patios or an artificial outdoor surface, where this is done as a service to customers”. So I can get some self-employed bloke in to clean the paving and paths with a jet wash machine but I can’t do it myself more economically just using my own hosepipe.
Much as I agree that the volume of mains water leakage is a mighty scandal, I also feel that the opportunity has been missed to make sensible investment in water resources and conservation. Great Britain is a predominantly wet island, with a dimishing amount of water-using industry, yet we have this nonsense of enforced restrictions starting as soon as a little sunshine occurs. So much fresh water flows out of East Anglia into the North Sea that could be treated and reintroduced into the supply or used to recharge the aquifer where the supply is drawn from boreholes. Oddly, some of the river water from the Great Ouse that would otherwise disappear into The Wash is diverted via channels from Norfolk to a massive reservoir in Essex [where much of it evaporates]. Norfolk has a hosepipe ban; the parts of Essex and Suffolk supplied by the Essex & Suffolk Water Company don’t.

Guest

Sorry about the spelling clangers for ‘minimising’ and ‘diminishing’ – the quickness of the hand deceives the ” i “.

Guest
par ailleurs says:
3 April 2012

This is a serious matter and one which will impact increasingly over the years unless we are very lucky. I’ve commented in depth before about my own, admittedly full-on, water saving and won’t bore everyone again. However I am reminded of one of my old grandmother’s favourite sayings when I hear people justifying their wastage by quoting the amounts lost in leakage by the water companies: “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” Water companies should be brought to book if leaks are not mended promptly and clearly this doesn’t always happen. Of course there is a political issue here too. They used to supply water as a right in a civilised society. Now they are international companies which report to shareholders and must make an operating profit to survive. If there was one piece of legislation I could change, the privitisation of water supplies would be high on my wish list.

Guest

Interesting thoughts, though I don’t think it’s fair to put all the blame on privatisation. In Northern Ireland the water board is a government owned company and has had problems, whereas in the Republic of Ireland there’s not even a separate charge for water use, it was until recently included in general rates.

Both bits of the island appear to be suffering from under investment and wastage (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-12088075 and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_supply_and_sanitation_in_the_Republic_of_Ireland) and both use more water per head than in Great Britain so I’m not sure that nationalising would solve the problem of water shortage.

Guest
par ailleurs says:
3 April 2012

Spelling gremlins are at work everywhere tonight. “PrivAtisation”! Sorry for that and for those who prefer a ‘z’ in it.

Guest

Interesting info about the position in Eire. Local authorities in Great Britain used to be responsible for the drainage and sewerage element of water services until some time in the eighties. The cost was included in the general rates [pre-community charge & council tax] and water was supplied and charged for separately by water boards, or municipal undertakings, or private companies. Inneither cases was the charge for the service seen as a serious concern to householders – maybe because the government picked up the tab for major investment like reservoirs and sewage treatment works. When the regional water authorities were set up manage the entire water cycle the costs went through the roof; local authorities handed over their reasonably efficient installations and economical services promising to reduce the rates [but guess what! – it never happened] and the government made the new water authorities responsible for all the capital investment promising it would lead to lower taxation [guess what! . . . ]. The water authorities were privatised, . . well, we know the rest. As I write it is pouring with rain and the drains are overflowing, the excess going via the storm drains and the ditches down to the rivers which in turn disgorge into the North Sea. Why is so much water wasted every time it rains? I think I’ll get my pipe out tomorrow and wash the car.

Guest

Jonathan, I might be biased (I’m the Deputy Editor of Which? Gardening) but I think you are underestimating the impact of the hosepipe ban on gardeners. Keeping a garden looking good or veggies watered in summer is always a challenge, and it’s more laborious without a hose – especially if you have a big garden. Of course gardeners have other options – using water from water butts, grey water, leaky pipes, mulching etc – but there’s no denying that without some decent rainfall our gardens will suffer this summer. I’ll be writing another Conversation post on this very subject soon!

Guest

I’m not convinced that watering the garden needs to be seen as a waste of water. After all, it goes straight onto the soil and percolates through the ground eventually reaching the aquifer from which the boreholes and pumping stations draw much of the supply. Carefully done, when the sun is not strong, and if the water is aimed at the roots rather than sprayed indiscriminately, there is very little loss due to evaporation. Obviously, that which is taken up by the plant and turned into a fruit or vegetable is a lost resource but we have to eat and it all comes out in the end anyway; perhaps growing flowers is a waste of water but we need some pleasures in our lives and, what’s more, they feed the insects which keep the birds alive.

Guest

“I think you are underestimating the impact of the hosepipe ban on gardeners” There is no reason to water gardens with a hosepipe. Use a watering can and do some work. Sprinklers and hoses are indiscriminate devices, spraying water everywhere instead of directing it at the plant’s root system by using a watering can without a rose.

Guest
netty says:
5 April 2012

Can anyone tell me why I have to pay £20 more for my water bill this year when I cannot use my hose, surely the water companys should not be allowed to increase our bills when they are not providing a full service!!!!!!!

Guest

Because of the extent of water metering in the Anglian Water supply area I am expecting the charges per litre to rise as a result of the hosepipe ban since there will be a shortfall in the company’s estimated income but very little reduction in expenditure. This increase, of course, is unlikely to be reversed if the ban is discontinued, so as well as having the inconvenience of the ban we are facing a higher cost implication for the future.

Guest

“Can anyone tell me why I have to pay £20 more for my water bill this year when I cannot use my hose, surely the water companys should not be allowed to increase our bills when they are not providing a full service?”

Yep. You pay for the water you use, not what you transport it in.

Guest
Peter Neate says:
5 April 2012

It has taken me nearly an hour searching to discover that Hampshire is NOT in the ban.

Why so difficult – Why no map to make it clear who is banned?

Is it a secret?

Guest

One thing I would say in favour of Anglian Water is that they have a useful web page all about the ban and how it applies. They also have a postcode search facility to check whether a property is within the ban area.

Guest
Guest
Paul says:
5 April 2012

This must be the only industry where, as demand rises, the supplier asks consumers to reduce consumption. In any other industry they would increase supply and increase profits. In this industry they fail to invest and increase profits by putting up monopoly prices. Since 1976 there must be millions more houses but how many new reservoirs and infrastructure have been created…..none I think. No, it’s lets reduce consumption yet again. How long can this go on, and why should we reduce consumption, it just encourages the water industry to continue to fail to invest but take vast profits from customers who can’t go anywhere else!

Guest
Conrad says:
5 April 2012

There is a very simple solution to the water shortage in the south, albeit now an expensive one. All that is needed is a water grid and this could be simply acheived by interconnecting each separate water company’s system to the adacent company. In this way the grid would cover the whole of Gt Britain. Capacity flows would be somewhat less than building a new very expensive water grid, but inter-company transfers could be controlled and scheduled overnight when water demand and flows are lower.

A national grid with new interconnecters would be ideal, but more expensive. When the first British electricty grid was proposed in the 1920s, many engineers said this would not work due to many technical problems and they were wrong. The water companies do not want such a grid because this would introduce competition and this is why they keep opposing the idea and putting up objections. Other countries have intergrated systems that works. The Government should insist that such connections are made or a grid is built and the introduction of competition would sooon result in reduced prices.

We pay more to Southen Water for taking our waste water than we do to SE Water for our water supply and this is obvious nonsense.

Jonathon Richardson says that desalination is experimental and whilst it is expensive, this is not experimental and is a proven technology with plants in most of the Gulf states and a new plant in this country on the Thames near London which is now in operation.

Guest

The desalination plant in east London is activated very rarely, only when supply levels are very low, because the operating costs are enormous. This is proven technology but not necessarily the best for a wet country like Great Britain where trunking water downhill from the Scotland and the north to the midlands and the south would make more sense. Using existing watercourses and pipelines so far as possible a national water grid would be a very efficient distributor. Once the interconnections are made and the pipes or channels are full of water it will act as a giant reservoir and at certain times of the year the water in the sytem could be used to recharge the aquifers thus boosting natural storage in regions with high demand and low rainfall. An additional issue with desalination is what to do with the salt liberated – it can’t just be tipped back into the sea off the coast. The Gulf states can afford solutions to these problems, the UK can’t.

Guest
Vince says:
12 April 2012

I agree with Conrad’s comments dated 5 April ;-

In the UK we do have lots of water, except it is mainly located in the north west.

This problem was clearly indentified by UK goverment reports about 40 years ago.

Since privatisation all the water companies have consisitantly failed to invest in providing a national water grid system.

The water companies HAVE MADE VERY GOOD PROFITS, over the last 30 years- so when will UK goverment tell the water companies, to start building a NATIONAL WATER GRID?

Guest

“trunking water downhill from Scotland and the north to the midlands and the south would make more sense.” It isn’t all downhill. Have you tried freewheeling in a car from Scotland and the north to the Midlands?

“Using existing watercourses and pipelines so far as possible a national water grid would be a very efficient distributor”. Transporting water via rivers has serious ecological problems. Each riverine ecosystem is dependent upon the dissolved mineral content and, for example, any Welsh water transported via the chalk rivers of the dry South Downs would kill those rivers stone dead.

Guest

“All that is needed is a water grid and this could be simply acheived by interconnecting each separate water company’s system to the adacent company.”

In general, the water supply in each company is not a single, interconnected system. It comprises many separate systems, each supplying different parts of the area covered by a single company. Interconnecting systems within a company would be a big enough problem, never mind between companies.

Guest
Gaynor says:
5 April 2012

What exceptions are there for the disabled unable to carry watering cans ?

Guest

The guidance from my water supplier says “People with severe mobility problems or who hold a current Blue Badge issued by their local authority are permitted to use a hosepipe to water a garden attached to a domestic dwelling or to water plants on domestic premises”. But a person with a bad back or weak arms, for example, might not be classified as having “severe mobility problems”.

Guest
Harold Hall says:
5 April 2012

It would seem our use is relatively low but we will try harder to reduce waste. However, I am sick of hearing of self-inflicted waste by the water companies themselves and lack of readiness to capture more rain in the South. Tougher action by government is necessary and can start with publication by each company of each source of loss in their area – location, extent of loss, history of incident, programmed date for repair. Once again we find that Portsmouth Water can meet demand without a ban on supply whilst neighbouring Southern is the first to introduce restrictions. Just a few years ago much was made of the expense incurred in linking the two networks through a new main across the South Downs – to what purpose ?

Guest
Robertino says:
5 April 2012

Living in Devon (South Waste Water PLC) provides us with ample water supplies albeit at the highest cost in Europe. Our population 1,5M across Devon and Cornwall has been forced to pay to improve water infrastructure sewerage and supplies, to clean the beaches and provide reservoirs, also to cater for the additional millions of visitors who call on our beautiful region annually. Our population is small relative to our coastline and it is a matter of considerable anger that one of the poorest populations in England is forced to provide water services for everyone visiting our area. I will continue to wash my car and water my garden as my annual water charge for a year is between £800 and £1000. Moaning minnies in the south east should be grateful they dont have to pay our scale of charges and should switch to Perrier Water…fill the swimming pool, stop abstracting water from scarce water sources and stop building more and more homes on the green fields…or import water supplies by pipeline from the Continent.

Guest

The media and many commentators quickly identify the increase in the number of dwellings as the cause of our difficulties, but is this not a simplistic excuse? More and more of the new dwellings have either no garden or a very small one, and many of them are under-occupied relative to their capacity. Yes the population is rising, and thus the need for water, but equally people are being more and more conscientious in their use of water, and domestic systems [toilet cisterns, dishwashers, washing machines] are much more economical than they used to be. Furthermore, the amount of water extracted by industry has fallen heavily. The major increase in water consumption is crop production. Sprayed irrigation is now a massive [and extremely inefficient] user of water in England and it is largely driven by the desire to maximise yields and programme the harvesting so that the right product can go on the supermarket shelves – often outside its “proper” season. There is no reason why more waste water could not be reintroduced into supply after treatment; the discharge is potable but is dumped into rivers and flows out to the sea.

Guest
Robertino says:
5 April 2012

John Ward is quite right: but, it’s not the excessive housing that puts pressure on ever scarcer water resources in the SE; it’s the use of water by those who inhabit them and all the other houses, works, industry offices et al, in ever increasing numbers. The London Basin has been used to abstract water through artesian wells since Victorian times, the result of which has been to lower the water tables to unsustainable levels. The situation in East Kent was dramatic 30 years ago and now you will be hard pushed to see any surface water (or springs) in the Chalk over the Weald as a whole. And as for the Ver at Verulamium (sorry Saint Albans) you’ll be lucky to se any water at all in it…after more abstraction has taken place upriver. My suggestion might be along the lines of taxing excessive water usage and prohibiting any but gray water from use for ancillary domestic and industrial purposes.

Guest
Charles Patey says:
5 April 2012

I would hope that dividends from water companies will be suspended and the money saved used to repair the leaking pipes. Extra teams of workers could be employed (reducing unemployment) with the dividend money to speed up the repair process.

Guest
Tim says:
6 April 2012

Lack of investment in the infrasructure over the years
rivers ,dams etc from the whole of the U.K. should be available to the whole uk
We should have kept all the Essential services under government control not by greedy investors

Guest
Nigel T says:
6 April 2012

I have connected water butts collecting from one side of my roof. But I live in a relatively modern house which makes it difficult to get hold of grey water as all the pipes are connected directly to soil pipes inside the structure of the house. You may be able to siphon from a bath, but it is not practical from a shower!
I am only able to collect from one side of the house as the other side slopes down to gutters which are on my neighbours side so I cannot collect as much as I would like.
Another thing that seems such a waste is combination boilers. We may be saving energy, but if you want hot water you have to run the tap and waste water instead. At least if you were able to catch grey water you would be able to use it again. We tend to use the kettle to boil water for washing up rather than run the tap.

Guest

We don’t have a combination boiler but it is necessary to run off one-and-a-half litres of low temperature water before the hot water emerges from the kitchen tap. This is because of its distance from the hot water tank. Obviously, for many purposes, this is not a problem because we actually don’t need the water to be hotter than hand-hot, but for some cleaning functions then really hot water is necessary so the excess goes straight down the drain. Like Nigel, we have a modern house with all-internal [and encased] waste water plumbing – its a pity we cannot capture and recirculate this run-off. Somebody did come up with an invention to do just that but it has not been taken up by the housebuilding industry. A high percentage of brand new houses still do not have efficient water pipework to minimise waste – long pipe runs are needed to feed hot water to all the baths, showers, washbasins and sinks.

Guest

Give a rebate OR cancel already implemented increase in water
charges. No business (and watcos are businesses) I can think of
where their customers are asked to pay MORE for using less, very
much LESS in fact.

Guest

Re Singapore referred to, water leakage there is abt 5% as opposed
to Thames Water’s of 25%…. cf NYC and Paris of 10 % each, desalination
plants may be expensive but thought it’s tried and tested technology.
Such plants have been built elsewhere and operating with apparent
success.

Rain cloud seeding experiments had actually been carried out in Sp that I
know for a fact… with more advanced technology available now, perhaps
shall have a higher degree of success.

Guest
Leslie Coles says:
8 April 2012

I am a keen vegetable Gardner and live in the south east, we save water that would normally go down the drain, we run off the “cold water” that come from the hot tap into a bucket until it is just warm before filling the washing up bowl, this gives me 3/4 gallon a day, we also save the washing up water if it is not greasy this gives us another 4/5 gallon per day, we have also just started saving the water from the shower until it runs hot, this gave us 4 gallons today, this gives me enough water to keep the veg growing,

Guest
Tim Leunig says:
14 April 2012

I have written an alternative proposal to the hosepipe ban – you can read it here: http://www.centreforum.org/index.php/mainpublications/339-hosepipe-bans-are-not-the-answer, and you can read the Daily Telegraph write up here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/drought/9203704/Hosepipe-bans-are-unfair-on-households-says-Liberal-Democrat-think-tank.html.
I think it makes sense, but do email me with any comments.

Edited by moderators: For your own safety, we do not allow users to give out or solicit any kind of personal contact information or anything that would enable another forum user to find out who/where you are

I am a keen gardener (open under the National garden scheme) and Which? subscriber. In my case it is quite hard to redirect bath water (etc), as my bathroom is in the middle of the house, and has no external wall. I also have concrete floors. My roof water already goes into soakaways in the garden, and my shed roof water is piped to the fishpond.

Guest

“I have written an alternative proposal to the hosepipe ban – you can read it here: http://www.centreforum.org/index.php/mainpublications/339-hosepipe-bans-are-not-the-answer

That is a well-thought-out proposal. I think it makes a lot of sense.

Guest
Robert Davidson says:
16 April 2012

The water companies and local and national government are responsible for this and other water shortages. Dave D points out that rainwater can be collected and used in the garden, but there is no reason why it cannot seived and filtered for use in the house. There is currently no incentive to make the substantial investment in storage and additional plumbing, and that needs to be addressed at the highest leve. Certainly, no permission to build or extend property (domestic or commercial) should be granted unless the proposal includes suitable provision for collection and reuse of rainwater and recycling of grey water. For existing properties grants should be made available to install water collection facilities. I have a 350l water butt that collects about half of the rain falling on my fairly small house. I haven’t measured how much it collects, but if it is empty in the morning and there is rainsall day, the butt will be overflowing by the evening. I estimate up to 1,000l per day could be collected if the facility were there. Some people might not feel comfortable using collected rainwater in the kitchen, but it should be fine for toilet, bath/shower and laundry with minimum refinement.

Guest
G.Payne says:
25 April 2012

Hosepipe ban or not, I would never dream of using “tap water” anywhere on the garden. I would recommend that every gardener instal as many water butts as possible. Here in Kent, there is too much chalk in tap water, so I have always collected rainwater – much better for the plants – in some 14 butts, round the house, green house, garage, carport – all different sites, making watering convenient if not any longer easy – so I shall be using a hose to water the more distant plantings. But it will carry water from the butts, not the tap, “Hose pipe ban” really means a ban on using Water Company water through a hosepipe.

Guest
M. Rivers says:
28 April 2012

I am happy to save water and have 5 water butts around the garden for the fruit and veg I grow. I use a water butt pump to transfer the water between them. We do what we can in the house to save water drought or no drought -“hippos” in the loo tank, saving the water we run to get hot water for washing up – this goes in buckets and is put on the fruit trees etc. I think everyone can do their bit, but the water companies must be held to account for their colossal wastage through leaking pipes – they are doing too little too late.

Guest

Thames Water applied to build a four-square-mile reservoir quite near to my property. I was originally opposed to it but changed my mind. However, without any intervention from me, the Government Inspector rejected the plan.

See http://www.abingdonreservoir.org.uk/index.html

The reservoir (really, a storage area) would have been filled during winter, when the Thames was in spate, and then used to replenish the Thames when there was a drought – and the river was running very low – probably in summer. The Thames, of course, is used repeatedly to fill other reservoirs along its route, where the water is taken for consumption. The idea behind this scheme was to keep the river flowing, and thereby filling those reservoirs, in drought conditions.