South West Water introduces hosepipe ban aka a “TUB”

Our update on the hosepipe ban also known as a Temporary Use Ban

[You couldn’t make this up, could you? – Owl]

From 00:01am on 23 August 2022, customers who get their water from us in Cornwall and a small part of Devon will not be allowed to use a hosepipe.

[Looks like this may still not apply to Owl’s patch]


It’s the first time in 26 years but we’ve been left with no other choice. We need to have a hosepipe ban now to protect our precious water.

We’ve done our best to avoid this ban. We’ve increased the amount of water we can store – doubling it since the last drought in 1976. We’ve opened reservoirs, installed a new borehole, and improved the way we can move water across the region to help keep everyone’s taps running. At the same time, we’ve reduced the amount of water lost through our own pipes. In the last two years we’ve doubled the amount of leak detection staff and now fix about 2,000 leaks a month. 30% of leaks happen on customer supply pipes, we’ve offered to fix these leaks for free. But all of this hasn’t been enough.

Updates will be regularly made to this page. Updated 07:00 on 15 August 2022.

Check if the ban is in your area

Use this tool to enter your postcode and check if the ban applies to your property.

Enter your postcode to see results:

You don’t live in an area with a hosepipe ban. You may use your hosepipe but please try to save water.

A hosepipe uses 1,000 litres an hour which is more than what a family of four uses in a week. Pick up a watering can and water your plants at the root. Together, let’s save water and keep the South West flowing this summer. For water-saving top tips and free water-saving goodies, click here.


Why is this happening?

We’ve had very little rain for the last eight months and we’ve had the driest July for nearly a century. In the South West we get most of our drinking water from surface water sources, that’s our rivers and reservoirs. Right now, those levels across the South West are much lower than usual for this time of year.

We’ve also seen demand for water rocket this summer. We plan for increases in demand over summer but in one day we treated over 70 million litres extra of water, which is the equivalent of supplying an extra three cities the size of Exeter. Although we’ve seen demand go down, it’s still much higher than normal for the time of year.

Looking ahead, the weather is forecast to remain warm throughout August and September. Combining that with high levels of demand and the risk of the increase in wildfires across the region means we must take action now.

A big thank you to everyone for taking action and saving water already. It’s a team effort and through small changes in water use we can make a big difference. Together, let’s save water and keep the South West flowing.


There’s no risk to drinking water supplies for customers. But having a hosepipe ban now will help save water in our rivers and reservoirs because we won’t need to take so much water from them. Protecting our water supply will also help safeguard the precious environment which relies on it. It also means our reservoirs will be able to fill up more over the winter months.


What can’t you do with a hosepipe….

Water a garden using a hosepipeFill or maintain an ornamental fountainClean a private vehicle using a hosepipe
Water plants on domestic or other non-commercial premises using a hosepipeFill or maintain a domestic pond using a hosepipeClean walls, or windows of domestic premises using a hosepipe
Draw water, using a hosepipe, for domestic recreational useFill or maintain a domestic swimming, paddling pool or hot tubClean paths, patios or other artificial outdoor surfaces, such as decking using a hosepipe
  Clean a private leisure boat using a hosepipe

This hasn’t happened for a long time. For some customers this will be the first time experiencing restrictions on water use. We know you might have questions for us so we’ve answered some key ones below.