Hosepipe Bans: What is a hosepipe ban, is there a hosepipe ban in Scotland and when did Scotland previously have a hosepipe ban?

With record temperatures already recorded across the UK this year, and weeks of summer still to come, some parts of the country are facing water shortages.

When reservoirs start to run dry, water companies need to eke out their supplies until rain arrives to fill them up once more.

This leads to restrictions on water use – and the first to arrive is inevitable a hosepipe ban.

Here’s everything you need to know about them, and whether you’re likely to have to stop watering your garden this summer.

What is a hosepipe ban?

While not all hosepipe bans have exactly the same restrictions, it tends to be the case that people are not allowed to use hosepipes or anything that connects to a hosepipe or an outside tap.

This includes using a hose to water a garden, fill paddling or swimming pools, wash a car, fill a pool, or clean windows.

There can be exceptions to the rules though, including to water a new lawn, for business uses, to fill pools needed for medical or religious reasons, or to top up a fishpond.

Some parts of the UK are facing a hosepipe ban this summer.

When was the last hosepipe ban in Scotland?

Due to Scotland’s damp climate the country very rarely suffers from shortages serious enough to lead to restrictions on water use.

There are two exceptions to this in the last 50 years, when hosepipe bans were introduced during the summers of 1976 and 1995.

The drought of 1976 also saw standpipes installed on residential streets to dispense water and a Minister for Drought appointed at Westminster.

In 1995 it was mainly the Highlands that faced restrictions as reservoirs ran dry.

What happens to people who break a hosepipe ban?

Those found guilty of violating a ban face a fine of £1,000.

Where in the UK are there hosepipe bans this summer?

So far it has been announced that as of Friday, August 5, there will be a hosepipe ban from Southern Water in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

From Friday, August 12, around one million people served by Southern Water in Kent and Sussex will also be under hosepipe restrictions.

Why are the bans needed?

Following record-breaking temperatures in recent weeks and little in the way of rain concerns about a drought have been increasing – particularly with long range forecasts saying that hot and dry conditions will continue for much of August and September.

At an emergency meeting recently, the National Drought Group moved England into "prolonged dry weather" status - the stage before a drought.

Is there likely to be a hosepipe ban in Scotland this summer?

Despite record temperatures and comparatively little rain in recent weeks it seems highly unlikely that there will be water shortages that would justify a hosepipe ban.

Scotland Water have said that water levels across Scotland are normal for this time of year and there were no plans for any restrictions.

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