WATER company United Utilities announced a hose pipe ban would be coming into force from next month. 

The move comes after the longest heatwave since 1976 and will affect seven million customers in the north west of England.

The hosepipe ban, known as a Temporary Use Ban, will come into force on Sunday August 5.

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But the announcement has resulted in many questions from readers regarding car washes, washing your own car at home and what would happen if you were spotted using a hosepipe when the ban comes into force?

Here's the answers to your questions from United Utilities: 

What does the ban include?

Resident are banned from using a hosepipe, including using sprinklers, dripper hoses, automatic irrigation systems and similar devices from 8am on August 5 for the following:

1. Watering a garden using a hosepipe

2. Cleaning a private motor-vehicle using a hosepipe

3. Watering plants on domestic or other noncommercial premises using a hosepipe

4. Cleaning a private leisure boat using a hosepipe

5. Filling or maintaining a domestic swimming or paddling pool

6. Drawing water, using a hosepipe, for domestic recreational use

7. Filling or maintaining a domestic pond using a hosepipe

8. Filling or maintaining an ornamental fountain

9. Cleaning walls, or windows, of domestic premises using a hosepipe

10. Cleaning paths or patios using a hosepipe

11. Cleaning other artificial outdoor surfaces using a hosepipe.

Does this mean I can't water my plants?

Customers can still do everything on the list above if they use mains water from a bucket or watering can or use water that is not sourced from the mains such as grey water, rainwater from a water butt through a hosepipe, or private boreholes for example. 

Crewe Guardian:

Are there any exceptions?

Customers who meet the requirements below can continue to use water without needing permission from United Utilities but are asked to use water wisely and adopt 'water efficient practices':

• Using a hosepipe for health or safety reasons ie. removing or minimising any risk to human or animal health or safety or preventing or controlling the spread of disease

• Watering plants that are grown or kept for sale or commercial use, or are part of a National Plant Collection or temporary garden or flower display

• Filling or maintaining a pool used for medical treatment

• Filling or maintaining a pool that is used to decontaminate animals from infections or disease or for veterinary treatment

• Filling or maintaining a pool in which fish or other aquatic animals are being reared or kept in captivity

• Filling or maintaining a domestic pond in which fish or other aquatic animals are being reared or kept in captivity

• Filling or maintaining an ornamental fountain which is in or near a fish-pond and whose purpose is to supply sufficient oxygen to the water in the pond in order to keep the fish healthy. 

What about Blue Badge holders?

Anyone with a Blue Badge can continue to water their plants at home but are asked to 'use water wisely'.

Blue Badge holders can also use hosepipes to clean their car, walls or windows, paths or patios. 

The chairman for Consumer Council for Water urges any other vulnerable customers who are unable to use a watering can, for instance, to get in touch with the company.

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Does the ban mean car washes will have to close?

No, cleaning businesses are exempt.

This includes hand car washing, window cleaning, graffiti removal but excludes watering domestic gardens.

Is anything else excluded from the ban?

Watering food crops at domestic premises or private allotments using a hosepipe is allowed as well as using a hosepipe to remove graffiti from patios or boats. 

Filling or maintaining an ornamental fountain to operate water features with religious significance is also okay as well as filling or maintaining a domestic swimming or paddling pool with covers to minimise evaporative losses when not in use.

What should I do if I think I should be able to use my hosepipe?

Representations concerning any of these prohibitions may be made in writing at unitedutilities.com or by telephone on 0800 1078861.

The deadline is August 4 2018 at 5pm.

What happens if I use my hosepipe during the ban?

Anyone who breaks the ban may have to pay a £1,000 fine. 

You can read details of the ban in full here.