Hosepipes and the law

Wednesday 1st July 2015

To all plotholders                                                


Dear plot holder,

Very soon you will start to see notices beside every standpipe at Northfields allotments reminding you that you must not attach a hosepipe.

We have been advised that the use of a hosepipe connected to the water supply breaches the government’s Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations Act 1999.

These regulations are concerned with protecting the public drinking water supply. A particular concern is “backflow” - when pollutants can be drawn into the supply if there were a sudden loss of pressure (say from a burst water main or a fire). Allotments are regarded as a particularly high risk because of the likely presence of animal manures and associated pathogens.

If you remember signing your tenancy agreement you’ll know that attaching a hosepipe has always been against the rules. However, previous Pathways’ managers have allowed some plot holders some latitude if they were too old or too ill to carry water from the dip tanks to their plot. This can no longer be allowed as we have now discovered it is against the law.

Our local water supplier, Thames Water, will prosecute anyone in breach of the rules. If found guilty, a magistrate can impose fines of up to £1,000 for each example of a breach. The Landlord too, could be fined.

So, it is important that we keep a separation between the water supply and any outlets, in the form of an air gap. Dip tanks generally comply with the regulations, but a hosepipe connected to a tap does not.

We felt it was our duty (on behalf of the landlord) to let you know that if you use a hosepipe you may be prosecuted by Thames Water and fined.

We realise that imposing a complete and total ban on the use of hosepipes will be difficult for some plotholders. But we cannot give you permission to break the law.

If you are found using a hosepipe we will have to terminate your tenancy as you will be in breach of the tenancy agreement.

We are sending this letter to every plot-holder either by email or by post (for those not on email). We will also put up signs by every standpipe.


 Kind regards


Chair, Ealing Dean Allotment Society


For those interested, the actual legislation can be read from the UK Gov website at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1999/1148/contents/made.