Hosepipe Ban: Drip Irrigation Systems Are Exempt | Checkatrade
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Exemptions to the hosepipe ban: Drip irrigation systems

It's been the driest years any of us have seen, and one of the driest seen over the past 131 years. And with that comes a hosepipe ban. This ban is to be respected, but Southern Water has however advised that trickle and drip irrigation systems are allowed. Best of all, there are guaranteed tradespeople who can install these for you.

What is a hosepipe ban and why are they put in place?

A Temporary Use Ban (TUB), most commonly known as a hosepipe ban, is put in place by water companies when the UK sees periods of extreme heat and low rainfall. Companies introduce the ban to protect the environment, you and your neighbours.

The restrictions are set once a set of pre-agreed conditions and risk indicators have been met, including river levels.

The ban means that you can not use a hosepipe that’s connected to the water mains supply. It’s important to reduce your water usage where possible to ensure there’s an adequate water supply for all.

Why should we care about a hosepipe ban?

It’s put in place to ensure there is enough water supply for everyone. It’s key for the safety of people and the environment.

A hosepipe ban is only put in place in extreme measures, and water companies make the decision with the Environment Agency and the Secretary of State for the Environment.

So, what’s banned?

Southern Water has said the following is banned:

  • Watering a garden using a hosepipe
  • Cleaning a private motor vehicle using a hosepipe
  • Watering plants on domestic or other non-commercial premises using a hosepipe
  • Cleaning a private leisure boat using a hosepipe
  • Filling or maintaining a domestic swimming or paddling pool
  • Drawing water, using a hosepipe, for domestic recreational use
  • Filling or maintaining a domestic pond using a hosepipe
  • Filling or maintaining an ornamental fountain
  • Cleaning walls or windows of domestic premises using a hosepipe
  • Cleaning paths or patios using a hosepipe
  • Cleaning other artificial outdoor surfaces using a hosepipe

There’s an exception for homeowners – a drip irrigation system

There is an exception to the ban for homeowners, and that’s those who use an approved drip or trickle irrigation system fitted with a PRV and timer, according to Southern Water.

It isn’t a loophole as such; it’s a way to use a hosepipe but, most importantly, save on the amount of water you’re using.

Drip irrigation system

What’s a drip and trickle irrigation system?

A drip irrigation system is a way of getting water around the garden while using less water than a typical garden hose.

The system moves the water through a series of irrigation supply pipes, which are connected to a water source; usually an outside tap. The system is extremely efficient in how it distributes water. It’s reported to reduce the amount of water you use by 90%.

Using an irrigation system during a hosepipe ban

  • You must use a timing device (water timer or tap timer) for your irrigation system.
  • You must also make sure that a pressure-reducing valve (PRV) is used to make sure the pressure doesn’t spike and cause the system to flood and therefore waste water.
  • The emitters in the system must drip onto or underneath the soil surface. It mustn’t spray, sprinkle, jet or mist.

How easy is it to get one installed at home?

We recommend hiring a professional to install your drip irrigation system. That way, you know you’ll have the most efficient system for your garden and make sure you’re meeting the criteria.

How much does it cost to install a drip irrigation system?

The cost of your drip irrigation system will depend on the size of your garden and how far the system will need to span. We’ve listed some typical costs in the table.

Cost provided itemUnitAverage UK cost
Drip Irrigation System25 drippers£55
Drip Irrigation System50 drippers£80
Drip Irrigation System100 drippers£130
Water timerEa£50
Smart water timerEa£230
Complete kits with timer20 drippers£80 - £130
GardenerPer hour£30

Our costs are ballpark averages – get a local tradesperson to quote now

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