Due to record demand for drinking water, a hosepipe ban, in place in parts of Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, was extended into Kent and Sussex in June. The ban impacts the use of hosepipes for filling or topping up swimming pools but some guidelines, particularly regarding hot tubs, appear subject to interpretation. South East Water, covering Kent and Sussex, say you can still fill or refill hot tubs but South West Water, covering Devon and Cornwall, include hot tubs on their hosepipe banned list.
Swim spas are considered domestic swimming pools. As such, you must not use a hosepipe to maintain or fill a swim spa. Filling or maintaining a domestic swimming pool with a hosepipe is prohibited unless it is necessary as part of its construction, or for a particular health and safety purpose. “We have taken the view that for swimming pools, major refurbishment should be treated as equivalent to construction,” said a spokesperson for South East Water.
Major alterations to shape or size or to the immediate surrounding of the pool, repairs of significant leaks or the installation of a completely new liner would qualify in this category. “Minor repairs, such as the replacement of tiles, would not qualify. Ideally water from the pool to be refurbished or repaired, should be retained in a temporary structure,” the spokesperson said. “Although we would ask everyone to do all they can to help us conserve supplies, if you don’t have to top your pool up, we would really appreciate your efforts.”
School pools and other commercial pools are not impacted. “We have extended the list of exemptions to include commercial customers where using a hosepipe comprises a significant part of their business activities,” say South East Water. It is up to each water company to decide on what penalties to impose on customers who flout the hosepipe ban. In each area, breaches will be investigated when reported and reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Both South East and South West Water say anyone who breaks the rules may be liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding £1,000.