What a summer this is turning out to be! England has exceeded expectations in the World Cup and the whole country has had non-stop sunshine for what feels like forever. As much as we’re loving the prolonged heatwave (is it still even a heatwave or is it just summer?), the lack of rain has already caused a hosepipe ban to be enforced in Northern Ireland.
With the scorching weather set to continue, there is talk of hosepipe bans coming to other parts of the UK as water supplies start to deplete. But what exactly does a hosepipe ban mean? And what can motorists do to keep their cars sparkling clean in the midst of this heatwave?
Rules for hosepipe bans
Under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, utility firms have the power to impose restrictions on how households use water in times of “serious shortage”, The Sun explains. This means that it can implement temporary bans on hosepipes, stopping households from using them to water gardens, wash their car, fill swimming pools, ponds or fountains from the mains supply, and cleaning windows, decking and paths with a hose.
Different water companies implement different restrictions depending on the circumstances, so it is best to check with your provider if a ban comes into effect.
Hosepipes might be out of the question but, generally speaking, buckets and watering cans are still allowed if they’re filled up from a tap. So, why aren’t hosepipes allowed?
According to the RAC, it is down to their efficiency, or lack thereof. Uswitch claims that using a hosepipe to wash your car can use between 400 and 480 litres of water! In comparison, doing so with a bucket will use around 32 litres, based on an average of four buckets per car.
If you’re caught flouting the rules and using a hosepipe during a ban, you could be fined up to £1,000.
Alternative ways to wash your car
Hosepipe bans are imposed for a reason and, if one is imposed in your area, you must adhere to the rules. So, what are motorists to do?
Some drivers see their vehicles as their pride and joy, seeking pleasure in keeping their cars in tip-top condition. But there’s more to having a clean car than simply the aesthetics. As the RAC notes, it is a legal requirement to ensure all windows, mirrors, lights and number plates are free from dirt and regular cleans can help keep improve the maintenance of important components.
If you’re faced with a hosepipe ban this summer, here are some hosepipe-free tips for keeping your car squeaky clean:
- Park your car in the shade to make sure the water and soap doesn’t dry too quickly and avoid any watermarks
- Use a bucket of warm water and a sponge to rinse dirt off the car’s bodywork
- Wash the car from top to bottom to stop dirty water running onto clean paint
- Use a watering can with a rose head attachment to rinse body panels after soaping
- Either leave to drip dry in the shade or use a chamois or microfiber cloth to wipe clean
- Create a shine with polish, wax or other car care products
- Use a pressure washer as long as it’s from a recycled source, like a water butt
- Avoid water completely with waterless car cleaning products
With or without a hosepipe ban, there are plenty of ways in which drivers can clean their cars while minimising their water usage.