Gardening businesses now exempt from hosepipe ban
22 May 2012
The three water companies serving Elmbridge - Thames Water, Veolia Water and Sutton and East Surrey Water - have now made landscaping, turf and gardening businesses exempt from the hosepipe ban.
Following recent rainfall, landscaping, turf and gardening businesses have been made exempt from the hosepipe ban.
A total of seven water companies imposed temporary use bans on their customers on April 5.
They included the three serving Elmbridge – Thames Water, Veolia Water and Sutton and East Surrey Water.
Yesterday (Monday), the seven firms adjusted their bans, allowing gardening businesses to use hosepipes to water newly-laid turf and plants for up to 28 days.
The news comes with two-and-a-half-times the normal amount of rain having fallen in April and frequent showers having continued through most of May.
Richard Aylard is sustainability director at Thames Water, which provides water in the Esher and Molesey areas.
"Our restrictions have caused real difficulties for some gardening businesses, so we are relieved to be in a position to take this step, which will enable them to carry on designing, landscaping, maintaining and building new features and gardens, while safeguarding their livelihoods and those of their employees,” he said.
"From today they will be able to water where necessary to get new gardens, lawns and plants established, and their clients will be able to continue this for up to 28 days."
Earlier this month, Defra confirmed that London and the south east still have a serious water shortage despite the recent rain, with groundwater levels still exceptionally low in some areas.
Thames Water said that while gardening businesses are now exempt, the hosepipe ban remains in force for the rest of the company’s customers, who are being urged to continue to use water wisely.
Mike Pocock is the water resources manager at Veolia Water, which provides water in the Walton and Weybridge areas.
"We are keen to help businesses where we can,” he said. “Unfortunately at present, we will not be relaxing the temporary use ban further, as we need to conserve our supply of water to prepare for the possibility of a third dry autumn and winter.
"Months of wet weather, particularly during the next autumn and winter period will be needed to restore groundwater to normal levels.”
The water firms have agreed codes of practice with the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA), the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL), the Turfgrass Growers Association (TGA) and other trade bodies.
The aim is to ensure that the minimum amount of water is uses and as widely as possible.
Tim Briercliffe, director of business development for the HTA and APL, said: "We are delighted that water companies have reviewed the restrictions on the landscape trade in light of the recent rainfall.
"Our members were facing serious business challenges as a result of the restrictions and this was likely to get worse with lost contracts and job losses.
“Much of this can now be averted thanks to this decision.
"Our members fully support the need for water efficiency and will do all they can to carry out water efficient practices, such as the use of drip watering systems, and to promote these to their customers."
Tim Mudge, chief executive of the TGA, was also pleased with the decision.
“The turf industry has already been hit hard by the hosepipe ban, with our members reporting a number of redundancies and reductions in sales of up to 60%,” he said.
"We hope the exemption will improve the situation as people begin to buy and lay turf again.
“Working alongside water companies and other trade bodies, we will continue to advocate the responsible use of water in the garden."