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14 June 2006

Hosepipe ban hits motorhome owners

Hosepipe Ban Effects Motorhome Owners This is the time of year when many of you will be using your motorhomes on a regular basis. But if you live in an area that is currently facing a hosepipe ban, you may be faced with a problem - how do you fill your water tanks?

One of our customers, who lives in Portslade, near Brighton, has brought this issue to our attention in recent weeks. He has been threatened with a fine by his local water authority, Southern Water, after a neighbour reported seeing him using a hosepipe to fill his onboard tanks. In his defence, he explained that he needed the water for drinking and washing, not for watering his garden: after all, while he was away, he wasn’t using the water at home. A reasonable enough argument, you might think. Unfortunately Southern Water did not agree. They suggested fitting a hosepipe connector to a watering can and filling up that way - hard work when your tanks hold 100 litres or more.

To find out more we contacted Southern Water ourselves. A spokesman from the technical department confirmed there is no particular policy in place to cover this situation and suggested that motorhome owners would just have to find a way around the problem - one idea was to use a kettle. Not a very practical solution. “We would rather they didn’t use the water at all” was the final word on the subject.

With hosepipe bans now in force in seven water authority areas in the south of England as the UK faces the worst drought for 100 years, many of our customers are likely to be faced with similar problems this spring and summer. So we contacted Water UK - the industry association that represents all UK water suppliers - to see if they could make sense of the issue.

Director of Communications, Barrie Clarke, had this to say,

We do not think that filling motorhome water tanks before setting off from home should be a problem. The water is going to be used in the same way as it would be in the house ie. drinking, food preparation etc. and this does not constitute a non-essential use such as washing the car or watering the garden. We would however recommend that you advise your customers to contact their local water company if they are concerned”.

Ultimately we all have to use our common sense on this issue. If you are challenged or reported for using a hosepipe to fill your tanks, you can quote Barrie Clarke. But don’t be surprised if your water authority is less than sympathetic.