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13 March 2012, 12:00 | Updated: 14 March 2012, 12:38
It's been announced hosepipe bans are going to be brought in across Eastern and South East England to try and conserve water supplies after two dry winters.
From 5 April 2012, it will be illegal to use a hosepipe to water your garden or wash your car if you live in an area served by seven water companies.
These include Anglian Water, Thames Water and Veolia Water who between them cover areas like Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes and London.
While the ban is in place, you will also be unable to fill up paddling pools in your garden.
The ban is being brought in to combat an increasingly severe drought, following the driest 18 month period in more than a hundred years.
People caught flouting the ban could be prosecuted and could face a fine of up to £1000.
Peter Simpson, Managing Director of Anglian Water, said: “This is the first time Anglian Water has imposed a hosepipe ban in more than 20 years, but we believe this is the most sensible and responsible action to take to help safeguard customer supplies for this year, next year and beyond.
“Our region has had its driest 18 months for a century, including two dry winters which have robbed us of the rainfall we need to refill rivers, reservoirs and aquifers.
“In addition to the hosepipe ban, we are asking our 4.2 million customers to help us save water at home, at work and in the garden.
“We are doing our bit too; millions of pounds are being spent to secure water supplies in the region and we are working with neighbouring water companies to help keep them secure across the wider South East and East.
Under the terms of the ban, there will be a small number of exemptions to protect jobs and livelihoods and the infirm. You will still be able to water your garden if you use a watering can and not a hose, and you can still clean your car, provided you use a bucket.
Mr Simpson said: “Along with lots of rain, what we need most of all is common sense.
“This is one of those times when everyone needs to pull together and help save water, as well as look out for relations, neighbours and friends who might struggle in some way – perhaps lifting a heavy watering can or bucket for example.
“We are not telling people to stop doing what they have to, but to adapt their behaviour to reflect the severity of the situation. The message is – do what you can.
You have until 5 April 2012 to contact Anglian Water to suggest what exemptions if any, are appropriate.
As things stand, the ban will only apply to domestic use of hosepipes for things like gardening, washing cars and windows and filling paddling pools. Businesses and other commercial operations are not affected, but non-domestic customers are still being asked to use water sparingly.
Here's what you won't be able to do using a hosepipe when the starts on 5 April 2012