Hosepipe ban: One problem, two solutions
AS TEMPERATURES soared last week cooling water became a valuable resource for animals, plants and people alike. After two dry winters, the south of England is experiencing its worst drought since 1976. Hannah Gray and Louise McEvoy look into the hosepipe
AS TEMPERATURES soared last week cooling water became a valuable resource for animals, plants and people alike. After two dry winters, the south of England is experiencing its worst drought since 1976. Hannah Gray and Louise McEvoy look into the hosepipe ban which covers some of Comet country, and talked to residents and businesses about beating the heat.
LESS than a mile of fields as the crow flies separates the homes of Joan Harris and Wendy Crawley but there is a world of difference when it comes to how they can tend their gardens.
While Joan, 73, of Hitchin Road, Stotfold, is free to use a hosepipe to keep her garden green, Wendy, 64, of Wilbury Road, Letchworth GC must lug a watering can or washing up bowl to quench her flowers' thirst.
Wendy is one of the millions of residents whose water is supplied by Three Valleys Water, which has banned its customers from using hosepipes.
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But just across the border in Bedfordshire, Joan's water supplier Anglian Water has not imposed a hosepipe ban.
Wendy said the ban means she has had to alter both her gardening and her watering habits.
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She said: "I tip my washing up water onto the plants rather than tip it down the sink, so I don't actually use a watering can.
"All I've actually bought this year is geraniums because they don't use much water."
Wendy admitted her flower beds are much emptier than they would normally be at this time of year because she has avoided putting too many plants in them.
She is also careful to make use of what rain we do have.
If a shower is forecast, Wendy takes down her hanging basket and moves it out of the shelter of the house so it will catch the rain water.
But the lack of water has taken its toll in some places.
"We haven't got a lush green lawn, we've got white patches. There are several plants probably that I've lost because you just can't cope with watering things," she said.
However, Wendy isn't tempted to bring out the hose under the cover of darkness.
"I'd feel guilty if I did that," she said.
Just over the border in Bedfordshire, Joan Harris said that although she is free to use her hosepipe, she is careful how much water she uses.
"I try to us it as little as possible, I try to fill my can with the hosepipe," she said.
Joan, who has a large lawn area for exercising the seven greyhounds her and her husband race, is not bothering to water the grass.
She admitted that she and her husband were initially confused as to where the ban operated in this area.
"My husband was saying 'we are on the ban' and I was saying 'I don't think so'.
"We're all in the same area whether it's counties or not. It's a line down, it's a bit stupid.