With Water Authorities introducing bans on water use, the details of what water use activities are banned can differ from area to area so it is important to know what is and is not allowed in your specific area.
The law on hosepipe bans is contained in the Flood and Water Management Act 2010. Section 36 of this Act allows Water Authorities to ban the use of hosepipes and introduce other restrictions on the use of water if there is, or it is predicted that there will be, a serious shortage of water for distribution across a certain area. Section 49(3)(i) of the 2010 Act provides that Section 32 and Schedule 3 come into force in relation to Wales in accordance with provisions made by order of the Welsh Ministers. There is no definition or what constitutes “a serious shortage” so it is up the local Water Authority to make that determination – although they would have to justify their decision if there was a legal challenge.
It is important to note that Water Authorities do not have the power under this Act to impose bans on businesses. The power to do this rests with Central Government who can ban the use of water for any non-domestic purpose as they see fit. So, at the moment, there are no bans on any form of water use for businesses. However, that said, business should, as closely as possible, try to mirror the rules on domestic water use in order to play their part in conserving water and not drawing criticism for, for example, watering their lawns when neighbours are banned from doing so.