People have been told to graze their neighbors if they catch them repeatedly for breaking a snake ban.
Anyone brought to court for persistent breaches of no-snake restrictions – including watering a garden, cleaning a vehicle or washing windows, walls, paths and patios – faces a fine of up to £1,000.
It is also forbidden to fill up a paddling pool, house pond or ornamental fountain.
But the measures, officially known as Temporary Use Bans (TUBs), will no doubt leave gardeners dismayed as they desperately try to save their sunburned plants from wilting in the heatwave.
Which areas are affected by the snake bans?
A snake ban will come into force from 5pm today (Friday 5 August) in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight – the first to be introduced in the region since 2012.
Southeast water has also announced a ban for its customers in Kent and Sussex from 12 August.
Meanwhile, Pembrokeshire in Wales will also be hit by a snake ban from August 19.
Parts of England have seen their driest July on record dating back to 1836after the driest eight-month period from November 2021 for the country since 1976.
It also comes as the Met Office has warned there is “very little meaningful rain” on the horizon for parched areas of England. temperatures are set to climb into the 30s next week.
Find out the weather forecast for your area
People asked to “remind” others about water restrictions
Other firms have so far held off on bringing in restrictions despite low water levels, although some say they may need to impose bans if the dry weather continues.
Homeowners not yet affected by restrictions are encouraged to avoid using hoses to water the garden or clean the car.
Southern Water stressed there was no risk to the overall water supply, but the ban was necessary to protect the environment in one of the driest years on record, accompanied by record temperatures.
However, the company has encouraged people to “remind” neighbors of the rules.
A spokesperson said: “If you see someone breaking the restrictions, please let us know via our customer service team.
“A fine of up to £1,000 can be imposed for any breaches. We would like to thank all our customers for supporting these restrictions and for doing your part to protect your local rivers.”
Any fines will be handed down via the courts.
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Dr Alison Hoyle, director of risk and compliance at Southern Water, said: “We have not taken this decision lightly and we know the temporary ban will have an impact on our customers.
“We are asking everyone in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to do their bit by supporting these measures and only using the water they need.”
What uses the most water in our homes?
Another heat wave in the offing for parts of the UK next week
“Approaching drought levels”
Tens of thousands of people in Pembrokeshire will be subject to water restrictions after the county saw just over 60% of expected rainfall between March and July – prompting Welsh Water (Dwr Cymru) to introduce a hose ban from 19 August.
Water Services chief executive Ian Christie said: “We haven’t seen such prolonged dry conditions in Pembrokeshire since 1976.
“Imposing the snake ban is not a decision we have taken lightly, but if we are to ensure there is enough water to see us through the rest of the summer and into the autumn, we need to act now to try and prevent further restrictions later. “
The ban will apply to just over 2% of Welsh Water’s three million customers, with no plans to introduce wider restrictions at the moment, the company said in a statement.
Advice for gardeners on which plants you should save
New plants should be prioritized over those that are more established, says senior horticultural adviser at the Royal Horticultural Society, Nikki Barker.
President of the National Allotment Society, Phil Gomersall, said he does not water plants unless it is “absolutely necessary”.
“I may sound a little old, but I water the young plants for the first two to three weeks, then I let them fend for themselves. They may wilt during the day, but they’re back at night, and that encourages root growth. “
Tips for gardeners
• Prioritize younger plants over more established plants – create a timeline and work backwards
• Anything planted at least three years ago should have deep enough roots to recover
• Don’t waste water on lawns – grass is “resilient” and will grow back
• Do not use gray water if it contains bleach or disinfectant
• Try reusing “grey water” from the bath or washing dishes on hanging baskets and ornamental plants – but not edible plants, fruit or vegetables