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Hosepipe Temporary Use Ban - Q & A for customers

By using this current hosepipe ban and the help of the public we believe that we can manage our depleting stock of raw water. 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 Friday 5 June at 11.59pm. We hope that everyone will adhere immediately.

What does it cover?

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

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 £2,000.

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 like to 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.

Although it does not apply to businesses, we would very much hope that businesses can help support wise water use decisions to protect supplies.

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 drought 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 spring has been the third driest on record.

Are we going to run out of water?

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 as the reservoirs recover very quickly.

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 will need to be in place until we receive significant rainfall and our reservoir levels are healthy.

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 million litres per day.

When was the last hosepipe ban on the Island?

The last time hosepipes were restricted was between August and September 2018.

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

In the short term, short spells of even heavy rain will only give a little bit of short-term respite and is more beneficial to gardens.  It will make no strategic difference to the water stock levels due to the dry ground absorbing the majority of downpours.  Evaporation due to the warm ground also has to be taken into consideration.

How will this ban be enforced?

We are not encouraging either the public or our employees to spy on their neighbours, 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 £2,000.

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

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.

Business’ - Am I affected by the ban?

As a business, you will be allowed to use a hosepipe if this is directly related to the use of water for your commercial purposes.

There are restrictions on you using a hosepipe if not for those essential needs – so using a hosepipe to clean a path outside your business property, for example, would be covered by the ban.

Commercial or business vehicles do not need to be washed unless for safety reasons, i.e. so lights can be seen.

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 aim to repair all bursts as soon as we possibly can to avoid wastage. Please continue to report any bursts or leaks 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 687687 (during office hours). 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 £1,200 per day.

Can I use my hose to water new turf?

You can water your new turf with a watering can but not a hosepipe while the ban is in place.

We recommend you do not lay 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.

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 is 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.

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 supply pipes to repair any leaks on their system.

Am I entitled to a rebate on my bill due to the ban?

No, domestic customers are entitled to receive a supply of water for normal domestic purposes, for example washing, cooking or sanitation. We have no legal obligation to supply water for those activities covered under the ban and do not charge specifically for these. Under normal circumstances we do not limit customer usage for these purposes be they by hosepipe or otherwise. However, where we feel there is a risk to our raw water supplies we are permitted to prohibit use of water for these purposes.

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