From today, turf growers and commercial gardeners will be able to water newly laid turf and plants with a hosepipe for up to 28 days.
The adjustment to the ban follows the exceptionally wet April, which has led to the partial recovery of water levels in reservoirs and in some aquifers.
Anglian Water was one of seven water companies to impose restrictions on its customers on April 5. The month which followed was the wettest April in our 113 year records, and frequent showers have continued through most of May.
Paul Valleley, Anglian Water’s Director of Water Services, said: “While our region remains in drought following two very dry years, there can be no doubt that the recent downpours have helped by refilling reservoirs and reducing demand from customers.
“When we introduced the ban, we made clear it applied to domestic rather than commercial use because we wanted to avoid harm to businesses and the wider impact that would have on society.
“Businesses like turf growers and landscape gardeners were caught by the ban because they carry out their business on domestic property, using hosepipes and sprinklers to help newly laid lawns and plants to establish.
“We have been talking to those businesses since the ban came in and are very pleased we can now take this step, which will help protect their livelihoods.
“From today they will be able to water where necessary to get new gardens, lawns and plants established, and their clients will be able to continue this for up to 28 days.”
Anglian Water has agreed Codes of Practice with the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) and the Turfgrass Growers Association (TGA) to ensure that the minimum amount of water is used, and as wisely as possible.
Earlier this month Defra confirmed the Anglian Water region remained in drought despite the rain, with groundwater levels still exceptionally low in some areas.
While gardening businesses are now exempt, the hosepipe ban remains in force for the rest of Anglian Water’s 4.2 million domestic customers, who were urged to continue to use water wisely.
Paul Valleley said: “After two years the British weather has finally been kinder to us in the last few weeks and we have been able to capture a great deal of the rain that has fallen in reservoirs.
“Nevertheless, the situation with the aquifers that supply more than half our water remains uncertain. Their recharge is a natural process and one which normally happens in winter when rain is free to seep through into these deep underground stores.
“It remains to be seen how much of the recent, unseasonably heavy rainfall finds its way into the aquifers and we could still face a hot summer with the chance of a third dry winter to follow.
“We will, of course, be keeping the situation under constant review, but for now the hosepipe ban remains.”
Tim Briercliffe, Director of Business Development for the HTA and APL, said: “We are delighted that water companies have reviewed the restrictions on the landscape trade in light of the recent rainfall.
“Our members were facing serious business challenges as a result of the restrictions and this was likely to get worse with lost contracts and job losses. Much of this can now be averted thanks to this decision.
“Our members fully support the need for water efficiency and will do all they can to carry out water efficient practices, such as the use of drip watering systems, and to promote these to their customers.”