Apart from Northern Ireland, where water usage has been limited to drinking, cooking and washing, a full ban in the rest of the UK hasn’t quite happened yet.
Nevertheless, water companies are starting to ask customers to reduce their hosepipe and sprinkler use. Usually, restrictions are imposed when there is a “serious shortage” of water and temporary bans make it illegal for us to water gardens, fill swimming pools, ponds, and fountains, clean windows and hose decking.
And it’s worth noting that the fine for ignoring the ban can be up to £1000.
So, how can we help, and how can we get around the water problem without risking a hefty fine?
How do I save water yet look after my garden?
You can still use a watering can to water your plants and a top tip is to re-use the water you’ve used to clean vegetables for cooking. You can even use washing-up water so long as it’s not greasy.
How do I clean my car?
To be fair, a less than pristine car won’t harm anyone for a few weeks, but if you just can’t stand it, and your car is a bit dusty, not filthy, then you can use a water-free cleaner and a microfibre cloth.
It’s pretty easy – simply spray on the bodywork and use a clean cloth. To avoid scratching the paintwork, swap to a clean cloth as soon as one gets dirty. Some water free cleaners leave a protective layer of wax behind, helping the shine to last a little longer.
You can use a pressure washer…but you must use re-cycled water such as rain water from a water butt or pond. It’s certainly worth considering if you’re desperate to wash your car, patio or deck, and it gets round the problem of a hosepipe ban.
How can I help my lawn?
Obviously, you can’t water your lawn with a hosepipe, but you can use re-cycled rainwater (if we get some) or water that you’ve collected from the bath or shower. It’s pretty easy to pop a bucket in the shower with you to collect it, and while emptying the bath isn’t everyone’s idea of fun, you’d be amazed at how much water you could save…
If you’re really serious about saving water, you could get a plumber to fit a greywater butt to collect your bath and shower water, or even do it yourself. It’s a more expensive option, but it would mean that your bath and shower water didn’t go to waste and your flowers and veggies would thank you!
So, if we’re careful and put a little thought into it, we can save water, keep things clean, and continue to enjoy our glorious summer – for as long as it lasts!