Garden Watering Restrictions. A Review of Hosepipe Ban Legislation (2006)

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The hosepipe ban is intended to reduce demand for water resources by enforcing a limit on consumption.

Shortcomings of the hosepipe ban include,
Lack of clarity about the stages of drought planning and corresponding actions; Confusion about what is and what is not allowed, and cynicism about why certain activities are permitted and others not;
Lack of flexibility for improvements in technology;
Lack of concessions; and,
Lack of consistency between companies allowing different interpretations, which is confusing for consumers.

Recommendations for addressing these shortcomings include,
Clearly defined drought stages and associated actions to reduce non-essential use; Consistency of interpretation by water companies;
Introduction of time-based bans both by day of week and by time of day to maximise effectiveness of water usage;
Introduction of the ability to ban the use of water on hard surfaces and for the filling of swimming pools;
Widening the scope of the ban on washing of motor vehicles to include other vehicles; Recognition of new technologies that minimise water consumption; and,
Concessions for the elderly and disabled, and for newly landscaped gardens and turf.

The policing of hosepipe bans and other water usage restrictions is difficult to carry out and new ways should be investigated to make enforcement more effective. Clearer and more consistent restrictions may foster greater understanding amongst consumers and a greater willingness to voluntarily comply.

It must be recognised that there are costs associated with a hosepipe ban and any other restrictions on the use of water, and that these costs need to be balanced with the overall benefit of securing the long term delivery of water.

A time of consultation is necessary to help generate consensus on the benefits and the value of proposed amendments and establish a sense of involvement amongst all stakeholders, thereby assisting in creating commitment to its successful implementation.