The HTA is delighted to report that all water companies that are implementing hosepipe bans on 5 April will be exempting drip watering systems (see company websites for specific details). This means that Sutton & East Surrey, Veolia Central and Veolia South East have come into line with Thames, South East, Anglian and Southern Water companies.
HTA Director of Business Development, Tim Briercliffe, commented "It really is very good news to know that all seven water companies will be exempting drip watering systems from the hosepipe ban. Running a business in this sector, in a hosepipe ban area, will still be tough this year but at least this provides a way for gardeners to keep gardening without just having to rely on using a watering can. Our relationship with water companies has come on a long way since the last drought in 2006 and we give them credit for recognising the serious impact that hosepipe bans have on the garden industry and on trusting gardeners to use efficient watering systems which have the benefit of ensuring long-term water-efficient behaviour."
He continued "We genuinely welcome this alignment of the water companies which is the result of extensive HTA activity over a number of years now. It is now important that retailers do all they can to promote water-efficient gardening. Our partners at water-efficiency promoter, Waterwise, have supported this exemption but only because they see it as promoting long-term water efficiency in the garden and this is a message that the garden industry should be promoting.
This matters because the drought situation is getting worse for some water companies as each week goes by. I would not be surprised to see some water companies moving to tougher control measures as the summer progresses. If this happens then all outside water use will be stopped completely. There is a genuine risk of this and as an industry we have to take this seriously and start embedding long term water-efficient gardening into the gardening public."