Hampshire drought

The River Test is a vital source of fresh water for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. For the past eight months we’ve had very little rain – way below average. In fact, we are now experiencing one of the driest years on record (for the past 131 years).

River flows are lower than normal for this time of year, and we’ve had to apply to the Environment Agency for a drought permit to allow us to continue taking water from the river to supply to our customers. As part of the application, we have had to show that there has been an ‘exceptional shortage of rain (ESOR).

The Environment Agency will decide whether to grant us the permit and the conditions that may apply to it. A first step is to see if any objections are received by third parties, such as customers, before they make their decision. The public consultation period for the drought permit application ended on 27 July.

The Environment Agency will decide whether a public hearing will be held in relation to the application. If it does happen, it will be on Wednesday 3rd August, to be held as a virtual hearing. If you would like to attend the Hearing please register your interest to [email protected] with River Test Drought Permit Hearing in the subject line.

Summaries of the application documents can be found in the tables below.  

On 25 July we prepared an addendum to document 1.3 the Exceptional Shortage of Rain (ESOR) case. This is included with the document set below.

If the permit is granted, we’ll be able to continue to take water from the river to a lower level than we’re currently able to, while still protecting the environment and health of the river.

As river levels are low, we must do everything in our power to minimise the impact on these precious and unique habitats so we're asking our customers to reduce their water use.

 

Introducing a Temporary Use Ban in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight

On 5 August 2022, a ’Temporary Use Ban’ (TUB) was introduced to all customers in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, who receive their fresh water supply from us.

Sometimes known as ‘hosepipe bans’, a TUB means we all have a responsibility to save water and customers in the affected areas must not use water for anything covered under the TUB. This includes the following activities:

  • Watering a garden using a hosepipe 
  • Cleaning a private motor-vehicle using a hosepipe
  • Watering plants on domestic or other non-commercial premises using a hosepipe
  • Cleaning a private leisure boat using a hosepipe 
  • Filling or maintaining a domestic swimming or paddling pool
  • Drawing water, using a hosepipe, for domestic recreational use
  • Filling or maintaining a domestic pond using a hosepipe
  • Filling or maintaining an ornamental fountain
  • Cleaning walls, or windows, of domestic premises using a hosepipe; 
  • Cleaning paths or patios using a hosepipe
  • Cleaning other artificial outdoor surfaces using a hosepipe. 


We all have a role to play in protecting the environment and health of our precious rivers, and we hope our customers will work together with us to reduce our use.

TUB restrictions will remain in place until we have had enough rain and the river flows are back to a normal level.

For more information, and to find out more about any exemptions that may apply, check out our drought restrictions. You’ll be able to search with your postcode to confirm the level of drought you're currently in and get further information on what restrictions are in place in your area.


All postcodes affected

 

 

A list of exemptions that may apply to some of our customers is also available in the table below:

TUB Category Statutory Exemptions Discretionary Universal Exception (granted by all water companies) Suggested Discretionary Concessional Exception (granted by individual water companies)
Watering a garden using a hosepipe. Using a hosepipe to water a garden for health or safety reasons. In this category, the definition of ‘a garden’ includes ‘an area of grass used for sport or recreation’. Therefore it should be noted that watering areas of grass, which are used for sport or recreation, is covered by a Statutory Exception for health & safety only in relation to the active strip/playing area, not the entire ground. •Blue Badge holders on grounds of disability. •Use of an approved drip or trickle irrigation system fitted with a PRV and timer. • To customers on the company’s Vulnerable Customers List who have mobility issues but are not in possession of a Blue Badge. • To water newly laid turf for first 28 days.
Cleaning a private motor-vehicle using a hosepipe. A ‘private motor-vehicle’ does not include: (1) a public service vehicle, as defined in section 1 of the Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981 (c), and (2) a goods vehicle, as defined in section 192 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (d). • To Blue Badge holders on the grounds of disability. • Use of a hosepipe in the course of a business to clean private motor vehicles where this is done as a service to customers. • To customers on the company’s Vulnerable Customers List who have mobility issues but are not in possession of a Blue Badge.
Watering plants on a domestic or other non-commercial premises using a hosepipe. Does not include watering plants that are: (1) grown or kept for sale or commercial use, or (2) that are part of a National Plant Collection or temporary garden or flower display. • To Blue Badge holders on the grounds of disability. • Use of an approved drip or trickle irrigation system fitted with a PRV and timer. • To customers on the company’s Vulnerable Customers List who have mobility issues but are not in possession of a Blue Badge. • To water newly laid turf for first 28 days using drip irrigation.
Cleaning a private leisure boat using a hosepipe. (1) Cleaning any area of a private leisure boat which, except for doors or windows, is enclosed by a roof and walls, (2) Using a hosepipe to clean a private leisure boat for health or safety reasons. • Commercial cleaning. • Vessels of primary residence. • Cases where fouling is causing increased fuel consumption. • Engines designed to be cleaned with a hosepipe. • To prevent or control the spread of non-native and/or invasive species.
Filling or maintaining a domestic swimming or paddling pool. (1) Filling or maintaining a pool where necessary in the course of its construction (2) Filling or maintaining a pool using a hand-held container which is filled with water drawn directly from a tap. (3) Filling or maintaining a pool that is designed, constructed or adapted for use in the course of a programme of medical treatment. (4) Filling or maintaining a pool that is used for the purpose of decontaminating animals from infection or disease. (5) Filling or maintaining a pool used in the course of a programme of veterinary treatment. (6) Filling or maintaining a pool in which fish or other aquatic animals are being reared or kept in captivity None. None.
Filling or maintaining a domestic swimming or paddling pool. (1) Filling or maintaining a pool where necessary in the course of its construction (2) Filling or maintaining a pool using a hand-held container which is filled with water drawn directly from a tap. (3) Filling or maintaining a pool that is designed, constructed or adapted for use in the course of a programme of medical treatment. (4) Filling or maintaining a pool that is used for the purpose of decontaminating animals from infection or disease. (5) Filling or maintaining a pool used in the course of a programme of veterinary treatment. (6) Filling or maintaining a pool in which fish or other aquatic animals are being reared or kept in captivity None. None.
Drawing water using a hosepipe for domestic recreational use. None. None. None.
Filling or maintaining a domestic pond using a hosepipe. Filling or maintaining a domestic pond in which fish or other aquatic animals are being reared or kept in captivity. Blue Badge holders on the grounds of disability. • To customers on the company’s Vulnerable Customers List who have mobility issues but are not in possession of a Blue Badge
Filling or maintaining an ornamental fountain. Filling or maintaining an ornamental fountain which is in or near a fish-pond and whose purpose is to supply sufficient oxygen to the water in the pond in order to keep the fish healthy. None. • To operate water features with religious significance.
Cleaning walls or windows of domestic premises using a hosepipe. Using a hosepipe to clean the walls or windows of domestic premises for health and safety reasons. • To Blue Badge holders on the grounds of disability. • Commercial cleaning. • To customers on the company’s Vulnerable Customers List who have mobility issues but are not in possession of a Blue Badge. • Where this is undertaken as a service to customers or part of a business.
Cleaning paths or patios using a hosepipe. Using a hosepipe to clean paths or patios for health and safety reasons. • To Blue Badge holders on the grounds of disability. • Commercial cleaning. • To customers on the company’s Vulnerable Customers List who have mobility issues but are not in possession of a Blue Badge.
Cleaning other artificial surfaces using a hosepipe. Using a hosepipe to clean an artificial outdoor surface for health or safety reasons. • To Blue Badge holders on the grounds of disability. • Commercial cleaning. • To customers on the company’s Vulnerable Customers List who have mobility issues but are not in possession of a Blue Badge.

This of course is a situation that can change over the coming days and weeks, and we will be continuing to work closely with the Environment Agency.

We can all play our part in helping to save water. For more information on simple ways to save, and to find out more about the work we’re doing to find and fix leaks across our network, visit our How to save water page.

Feel free to browse the other info on these pages too. You'll find explanations of what droughts are and why we need plans to tackle them, along with details of what would happen at the different stages of one. You can also explore our library of technical documents, which go into greater detail about specific aspects of our plans.

Documents

Hearing documents

What happens during a drought

Learn about the actions we'll take at the different stages of a drought. 

Restrictions on water use

Explore what we’ll ask households and businesses to do to save water at different stages of a drought.

Drought Permits and Drought Orders

Find out how we plan to secure more water in a drought while minimising the impact on the environment.

Library

Browse the technical documents that together make up our full plans to tackle drought.

 
 
 
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