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Could your business withstand a hosepipe ban?

From our experience of this when based in Surrey in 2006, the last hospipe ban, we were down by 50% on our previous years sales.

As a Nursery we are exempt from any ban, so can water as normal. 

However, our customers, Landscapers and Garden Designers, were not exempt, and could not water, neither could their customers.

We knew then, of many Maintenance contractors that lost work as they could not cut grass as it was not growing through the hosepipe ban. 

We also knew then, of many Landscape and Garden Design projects that were delayed until the hosepipe ban was lifted in November 2006.  December 2006, after the ban was lifted, was our best month that year for plant sales.

The problem is, domestic gardens accounts for a minimal amount of total water usage, and yet, horticulture and making our world a greener and better place, is always an easy target to hit.

These mega-rich water companies have permission to extract water from our rivers, bleeding them and us dry, yet still not building new reservoirs to meet demand. 

Warnings of what could happen was said by the industry leaders in the 1980's when these now mega-rich Water companies were privatised.  It was said at the time that a privatised water industry will be based on the principle of greed not need.  Proved right then?

Yet water is an essential for humankind, how does that work?  What next, air? 

So what will you do, how will you cope should a hosepipe ban hit your area?

 

 

 

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  • PRO

    Defra Drought Summit confirms severity of UK drought conditions for garden industry

    The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) represented the garden industry at the Drought Summit today, which was called by Defra Secretary of State, Caroline Spelman MP.

    According to Thames Water, 45% of their customers believe that a drought in 2012 is unlikely but it is clear from today's meeting that those people are in for a shock! Whilst the Government has been warning about water shortages for some time, the situation is getting worse. According to the Environment Agency, well over half of England is at ‘high risk' of drought in 2012 and the Met Office has advised that ‘the chances of a wet or very wet March over the UK are low and lower than average' and the three month outlook is no better.

    Tim Briercliffe, HTA's Director of Business Development, was present at the Summit and commented, "The south and east of the country are genuinely facing drought conditions in 2012 and the industry should brace itself for the introduction of water restrictions (hosepipe bans) probably from before Easter in some water company areas."

    Whilst severe shortages exist in parts of the south and east it is important to note that there is no water shortage problem in much of the north, Wales and Scotland. This is a regional issue, but if you are in an affected region then the impact is serious.

    In 2006 garden retailers in ‘hosepipe ban' areas saw an average 20% drop in sales as the public were scared off gardening by the bans. Tim Briercliffe continued "The summit was a great opportunity to highlight the impact of water restrictions on the industry and on the 20 million gardeners out there. We are developing a pilot programme with one water company to test the HTA/Waterwise proposals for phasing in water restrictions but that won't help the industry this year. In the meantime, we are calling on water companies to work closely with the garden industry on how it communicates garden water saving messages to the public. We would also like to see the use of drip irrigation permitted during hosepipe bans as the evidence clearly shows that the use of such systems drastically cuts water use and embeds the importance of water efficiency with gardeners."

    "At the Summit, the Government agreed to focus on a National Drought Management Team and HTA will be ensuring that the voice of the garden industry and gardening public is clearly heard. The team will seek to bring about the consistency of communication between water companies that the HTA has been calling for since 2006 and is very welcome. In addition, Thames Water is taking the lead on co-ordinating the response of affected water companies and we are in close dialogue with them."

    It will be important for the industry to promote water-saving solutions for gardeners this year and HTA will be providing advice for members on messages that can be communicated.

    HTA also raised the specific issues for ornamentals growers in having reduced access to water for abstraction. The widely promoted solution for this is the installation of water storage but for many ornamentals growers, with limited land, this simply isn't an option. This is crucial for container and protected ornamentals as without water, the business goes. Nursery producers need to be protected.

    Summing up, Tim Briercliffe said "I welcome the Secretary of State's intervention in this serious issue which follows our discussion with her on this matter at the All Party Parliamentary Gardening and Horticulture Group (APPGHG) meeting with her in January. She is very aware of the impact of water shortages on the garden industry and we will follow up her commitment to work with us."

    http://www.the-hta.org.uk/page.php?pageid=817

  • Last summer was very very dry here in the Dordogne - We actually ended up cutting 50% less grass during the season. I am rather hoping for a wet summer this year (sorry if you are coming on holiday) but needs must!

    Steve 

  • It's official - Thames Water and 6 other water companies in the south east have announced the start of the hosepipe ban from 5 April. Expected yes, but still not welcome, especially this early in the year...

  • I am hoping Dorset won't  be affected by the hose pipe ban.  Even with the right plants in the right places they all need water when initially planted and it might mean putting off planting schemes and turfing too until later in the year. I can see why nursery sales for plants would drop considerably in hosepipe ban areas.

  • I was going to put a post up about this. Looks like here in the south east we are in for a harsh summer.

    The questions i had were, i have a few places where they have fairly new plants that will need watering. Can these still get watered or not?

    And i am in the middle of planning the landscaping of my back garden, and will be seeding in the next six weeks. Will i not be able to water this seed?

    Thanks

  • "...These mega-rich water companies have permission to extract water from our rivers, bleeding them and us dry, yet still not building new reservoirs to meet demand...."

    How are they doing visa vie leaks? In 2010 30% usage/wastage was through poor/badly maintained infrastructure. In the northwest our natural ponds...are full to bursting, the ground is waterlogged. It's wet, very wet.

  • Here in Northern Ireland i stopped along the road today to watch 6 herons walking through the last few inches of flood water that is left hunting frogs. The floods have been out here in some low lying areas since before christmas and are eventually going away now as river levels drop.  Im hoping for a scorcher of a summer so the grass growth will slow off a bit and i wont be slaughtered the way i was last summer. Hope the ban isnt as long or severe as predicted for whoever is in those areas over there.

  • look on the local watewr companys website. if your under southern water their site is quite helpful. There are 3 different levels for the restrictions, with a range of different implications at each stage. Initially it effects domestic users. I belive there is also a 28 day exemption for watering in newly laid lawns laid by a contractor rather than a diy job. 

    Steve Sonic Grounds Maintenance said:

    I was going to put a post up about this. Looks like here in the south east we are in for a harsh summer.

    The questions i had were, i have a few places where they have fairly new plants that will need watering. Can these still get watered or not?

    And i am in the middle of planning the landscaping of my back garden, and will be seeding in the next six weeks. Will i not be able to water this seed?

    Thanks

  • PRO

    South East Region, West Thames Area

    Monthly water situation report

    Summary – February 2012


    February was another dry month with below average rainfall for West Thames Area. Rainfall has been below average in 12 of the 17 months since October 2012, resulting in the second driest corresponding October to February period since records began in 1920. Mean February river flows were exceptionally or notably low for the time of year at 14 of our 15 indicator sites and groundwater levels at the end of February were notably or exceptionally low at 9 of our 11 indicator sites. On the 20th February the south east of England officially moved into drought status.

    Rainfall


    February was another dry month with 42% of the long-term average monthly rainfall. About half of this fell as snow on the 4th which melted gradually over three days. The five months from October to February had two-thirds of their usual rainfall making this the second consecutive winter with below average rainfall. The 17 months since October 2010 have been the second driest corresponding period for West Thames Area since records began in 1920; only 1922 was drier. On the 20th February the south east of England officially moved into drought status.

    Soil Moisture Deficit/Recharge

    Significant soil moisture deficits remained in the Berkshire Downs, Chilterns, Ock and Thame catchments at the end of February. This is very unusual for the time of year, when winter rainfall has usually wetted up the soil, allowing groundwater recharge. The dry soils mean that effective rainfall from October to February was just 17% of the long term average for this period. This is compounding the effects of last winter, when the six months from October to March saw only 51% of the usual winter recharge.

    River Flows

    Mean monthly river flows in February were notably low at seven of our indicator sites, exceptionally low at another seven and below normal at one, the River Wye. On most rivers,
    status deteriorated from January to February, most notably on the River Wey and the River Loddon, where flows had previously been sustained by slightly higher rainfall and groundwater levels. The lowest mean February flow since 1976 was recorded on two groundwater-fed rivers - the River Coln at Bibury and the River Kennet at Theale - and on two rivers dependent on regular rainfall - the River Cherwell at Banbury and the River Evenlode at Cassington.

    Groundwater Levels

    Groundwater levels in the Chalk at the end of February were notably low at three sites (Rockley, Gibbet Cottages and Tile Barn Farm) and exceptionally low at Stonor Park where the level was below the current detection limit. In the Oolitic limestone of the Cotswolds, the groundwater level was below normal at Ampney Crucis and exceptionally low at Jackaments Bottom and Fringford.

    Environmental Impact

    There were 23 flow constraints on abstraction licences in force at the end of February.
    Author: Catherine Sefton Contact details: 01491 828424

  • I have been trying to find out if there are any concessions or discretion for new plantings and lawns - no info on the Thames Water website and I cannot get through on the phone. Have emailed, but their system says they will respond within 10 days. If anyone gets any info before then, please post. Or could an LJN journalist possibly contact their press office on our behalf ?

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