A county-wide hosepipe ban will come into force across Hampshire today.

The restrictions on water use are the result of a particularly dry summer coupled with record-breaking temperatures.

Low water levels in the rivers Itchen and Test have also led to Southern Water announcing the ban, which is due to remain in place indefinitely.

It's the first time since 2012 that a limit of this kind is imposed in areas across the region.

Here is what the ban actually means and what you can and can't do while it's in place.

Southern Water hosepipe ban: The exact areas of Hampshire affected

Dos and dont's

During the ban, the use of a hosepipe, including using sprinklers, dripper hoses, automatic irrigation systems and similar devices, is prohibited for the following:

  • Watering a garden using a hosepipe
  • Cleaning a private motor-vehicle using a hosepipe
  • Watering plants on domestic or other non-commercial premises using a hosepipe
  • Cleaning a private leisure boat using a hosepipe
  • Filling or maintaining a domestic swimming or paddling pool
  • Drawing water, using a hosepipe, for domestic recreational use
  • Filling or maintaining a domestic pond using a hosepipe
  • Filling or maintaining an ornamental fountain
  • Cleaning walls, or windows, of domestic premises using a hosepipe
  • Cleaning paths or patios using a hosepipe
  • Cleaning other artificial outdoor surfaces using a hosepipe

All the above activities are allowed if residents use mains water from a bucket or watering can. Any water not sourced from the mains - such as rainwater from a water butt - is also fine to use.

There are exceptions for people using their hoses to water plants for commercial sale or use, or for health and safety reasons.

Breaking the ban can result in fines of up to £1,000.

Read more: Southern Water accused of treating New Forest 'like open sewer'

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