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Hosepipe Temporary Use Ban - Q & A for customers

Our depleting stock of raw water is currently a manageable issue with the help of the public with the current hosepipe ban. We are asking all our customers to use water wisely and to seriously consider the impact of the actions they take when using water for purposes other than food or hygiene reasons. You may still use a bucket or watering can but ask yourself the question beforehand; is what I am doing with this water absolutely necessary?

When does it start?

The hosepipe temporary use ban (the ban) will be put in place across the Island from Monday 30 July, but will be enforced from Friday 3 August 2018. We hope that everyone would adhere immediately.

What does it cover?

The ban prohibits people using their garden hose, or similar apparatus such as sprinklers. 

Under Schedule 5, paragraph 20.(1) of The Water Act 1991 we have the power to prohibit the use of the above for the purpose of watering private gardens or washing motor vehicles and impose,  on summary conviction of an offence, a fine not exceeding £1000.

However, from 1 January 2018 the level of this fine under Acts of Tynwald is now £2000.

Important Notice to Business Owners: As a business you may use water from a hose if it is directly linked to the use of water for your commercial purposes. Some examples of this would be commercial car washes, gardeners, window cleaners etc. The use of a hosepipe on gardens or plants that surround a commercial premise is covered by the ban.

 

During this period we would ask residents to consider what they can do to protect our drinking water supplies and whether it is appropriate to use our natural resources to fill a hot tub, paddling pool, pond, or water fountain or wash windows (domestic use) or clean paths etc.

What gives you the power to do this?

Schedule 5, paragraph 20.(1) of The Water Act 1991

Why didn’t you plan for this?

We have a plan for periods of dry weather. This involves using the large volume of water in Sulby reservoir to supplement supplies to Douglas and the South. However, we cannot plan for very long periods of dry weather. This summer has been one of the driest on record.

Are we going to run out of water?

We are not going to run out of water within the next 3 months. We rely on rain at some time to supplement supplies. Saving water and reducing demand will reduce the concerns that we have regarding current water stocks.

If we have normal winter/autumn rainfall then water stocks will be restored.

How long will it last?

The ban is in place 24/7 until further notice. We can’t say for certain how long it will last, but the ban would need to be in place until we receive significant rainfall and our reservoir levels return to normal.

Obviously, we can’t predict the weather but we will not have the ban in place any longer than is absolutely necessary. We will be closely monitoring this and will keep everyone updated.

How much do we expect the ban to save?

We expect the ban to reduce demand by between 3% and 5% which is around 1.2 mega litres per day.

When was the last hosepipe ban on the Island?

The last time hosepipes were restricted was between October and November 2003

But it's raining / has been raining. Surely that’ll help?

In the short term, the two spells of sometimes heavy rain on the weekend of 28-29 July will only give a little bit of short-term respite but will essentially make no strategic difference to the water stock levels or the following prospect of the resumption of mostly warm / very warm & generally drier weather for August & beyond.

How will this ban be enforced?

We’re not encouraging either the public or our employees to spy on their neighbours or report those breaching the ban, our ultimate aim is to save water and protect our supplies, so if we can ask people to think about using water wisely first, that’s always our best option. Part of our job is to increase understanding about why we’ve had to take this step and it’s sometimes that people may just not be aware.

Manx Utilities can impose a fine, on summary conviction of an offence, of up to £1000.00

I have a private water supply, can i still use my hosepipe or sprinkler?

Yes you can 

If your water is not provided by us and you enjoy a private source from either a dug well or drilled borehole on your property, then how you choose to utilise such water and for what purposes is solely at your discretion.

 

Can I use a hosepipe for my animals (e.g. horses)?

You can use your hosepipe to clean animals and their areas, e.g. yard or stable. We would ask you to be as efficient as possible when you do this.

What are Manx Utilities doing to conserve water?

We are being extra vigilant, checking for dripping taps or leaks in all our buildings and giving priority to these repairs.

We will be suspending all window cleaning at our sites and no watering of lawns or flowers beds etc will be carried out.

Vehicles will not be washed except where required to comply with driver safety or in preparation for any inspections due.

We seek to repair all bursts immediately to avoid wastage, please continue to report any bursts as per normal.

We may also consider, during this period of drought, assisting with locating leaks on private mains so that they can be repaired in a timely fashion. Please refer to our answer to the question 'Why aren't you repairing leaks for free' for further details. Please call 687687 option 5 followed by option 3 if you have a leak you would like us to inspect.

 

Who can I call if I have a question about the ban?

Please call Manx Utilities on 687760 (during office hours) for queries directly relating to the ban, all other enquires should still be routed through our main number 687687. You can also contact us via our website www.manxutilities.im

How can I find out a little more about how I can conserve water?

Tips on what you should or shouldn’t do during this period to help conserve water can be found on our website www.manxutilities.im or click here

How much does it cost to pump water to West Baldwin?

It costs approximately £1200 per day

Can I use my hose to water new turf?

We recommend you do not lay or delay the laying of new turf until the autumn or the end of the ban. 

If you have lain new turf in the last 28 days please contact us via email with a copy of any information pertaining to the laying of the turf and we will contact you accordingly.

Can I use a hosepipe to fill the tank on my caravan or motorhome?

Yes, you can. As you will be using the contents of the tank for domestic cooking or hygiene purposes, this would be acceptable.

Can I use a hosepipe for my allotment?

We consider allotments to be private gardens and as such a hosepipe, sprinkler or similar apparatus is not permitted for watering. You can still water your garden with a watering can should you wish to do so. We ask that you use water wisely when doing so.

United Utilities in the North West has called off their ban; does that mean the IOM will too?

We do not know the details of the operations that United Utilities perform and their reservoir stocks. Our stocks are still low, but we have had two spells of rain which have helped a little. We are constantly assessing our position and when we think that the risk to our supplies is over then we will remove the hosepipe ban.

 

Why aren’t you repairing leaks for free?

In extreme circumstances, where Manx Utilities believe that the public interest is served by assisting a private network owner to find and repair a major leak, we may choose to do so.

We will work collaboratively with the owner but depending on the circumstances Manx Utilities reserves the right to make a charge for work on private networks. 

It remains the responsibility of owners of private networks to repair any leaks on their system.

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