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5 April 2012, 09:23 | Updated: 5 April 2012, 09:36
Millions of people across the East and South East of England now face a fine of up to £1000 if they use a hosepipe to water the garden or wash cars.
Anglian Water, Thames Water and Veolia Water are among seven companies who have brought in a hosepipe ban after two really dry winters which have left reservoirs really low.
The ban is starting though after a week that's seen rain fall across many parts of Eastern England.
Peter Simpson, Managing Director of Anglian Water, said: “The fact is that it simply has not rained anywhere near enough.
“Two dry winters have prevented rivers, reservoirs and aquifers from refilling with the water we treat and supply during the rest of the year, especially during the hotter months when demand rises.
“We cannot know how much rain the rest of the year will bring and that’s why we believe a domestic hosepipe ban now is the most sensible and responsible action to take to help safeguard customer supplies for this year, next year and beyond.”
Here's what you can and can't do now the ban has come in
You can't use a hosepipe to
Fill water butts or watering cans
Water public flower beds
Water public sports facilities
Wash a car at home
Run a sprinkler
Water an allotment or vegetable garden
Run a pressure washer
Clean cars at a charity car wash
Clean graffiti off a private house
Top up a private swimming pool
Fill up a paddling pool
Water plants / grass
Clean windows, walls, paths or patios
Clean private leisure boats
Fill an ornamental pond that has no fish in
Fill children's water toys
Use children's water toys in the garden (specifically games and toys that attach to the garden tap)
Run an ornamental fountain
You can use a hosepipe to
Clean graffiti off a public building
Top up a public swimming pool
Fill feeding troughs for animals
Fill a pond which has fish in
Fill a water tank on a canal boat or caravan
Transport rain water from a water butt
Deal with dangerous and urgent health and safety issues - like slippery paths
Fill a home birthing pool
Create a siphon to recycle used bath or kitchen water in the garden
If a customer has a rainwater harvesting/grey water recycling system and that feeds their garden tap, they may use a hosepipe as long as the rainwater tank is not empty!
Below: Marston Reservoir near Tring, Hertfordshire, where water levels are very low