The first widespread hosepipe ban for more than 20 years comes into force across much of the Anglia region on Thursday 5 April 2012. It'll mean millions of householders will not be allowed to water gardens or wash cars or windows using a hosepipe. Fines of up £1,000 could be levied for breaching the ban.
The hosepipe ban has been imposed in the Anglian Water area and the Veolia Water Central area of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire after the driest year since rainfall records started more than a century ago.
Anglian Water says a hosepipe can use up to 1,000 litres of water in just one hour, which is more than the average household uses in an entire day.
The hosepipe ban will affect domestic water customers at home but won't hit businesses.
Householders won't be able to use a hosepipe to water the garden or fill up a swimming or paddling pool. But you can use a watering can or a bucket to do that.
You can't fill a garden pond with a hosepipe unless it has fish in it and then you can.
You can't use a hosepipe to wash a car or your windows but can bring in someone who does that for a living as a business - and they can use a hose.
Public parks, recreation grounds and sports fields are also covered by the hosepipe ban.
Unless the pitch is being using for a national or international sporting event and then watering is allowed.
There are a number of exemptions including for people with mobility problems and you will be able to use a hose if there are health and safety reasons for doing so. Also certain types of trickle irrigation systems are allowed.
Anglian Water supplies 1.2 billion litres of water every day but around a fifth of that, 230 million litres, is lost though leaks in the system. That's enough to fill 100 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Anglian Water says its leakage rate is lower than national average and it's investing millions to mend leaky pipes. About a quarter of those leaks are the responsibility of householders or businesses and not the water company.
There is no hosepipe ban planned if you get your water supplies from Cambridge Water, Essex & Suffolk Water or Veolia East, the old Tendring Water Company.