FAQ: What is a Non-Essential Ban?

What is a Non-Essential Use Ban?

A Non-essential Use Ban (NEUB) is similar to a Temporary Use Ban (TUB), and is a set of restrictions that water companies can introduce following a TUB if drought continues. Unlike a TUB, a NEUB includes restrictions on businesses.

If a NEUB is put in place, it means businesses must not use water for any of the following activities:

  • Watering outdoor plants on commercial premises
  • Filling or maintaining a non-domestic swimming pool or paddling pool
  • Filling or maintaining a pond
  • Operating a mechanical vehicle washer
  • Cleaning any vehicle, boat, aircraft or railway rolling stock
  • Cleaning non-domestic premises
  • Cleaning windows on non-domestic
  • Cleaning industrial plant
  • Suppressing dust
  • Operating cisterns on unoccupied buildings

Why would wholesalers apply for a Non-Essential Use Ban?

Following a hot summer in 2022 and increased dry spells already in 2023, droughts are becoming more regular in parts of the UK. As the temperatures rise, so does the demand for water, meaning our water supply is under pressure.

The UK’s extreme weather means we can’t rely on rain to maintain our water resources. Wholesalers therefore need to work hard to make sure they can meet demand, so are able to apply for hosepipe bans which restrict water use for domestic customers to help preserve water. If dry spells continue, they may also need to restrict business water usage with the introduction of a NEUB, as businesses use around a third of all water supplied in the UK.

Do any wholesalers currently have a Non-Essential Use Ban in place?

Currently no wholesalers have applied for a Non-Essential Use Ban. For information on areas of the UK with Temporary Use Bans in place, you can read our FAQ.

What can I do to limit my water use now?

We can all play our part in using less water and by acting now we can help prevent further measures being put in place. Up to 25% of business water use could be from undetected leaks, so now’s a good time to check for any leaks on your business premises and take regular water meter readings to spot any unexpected increases in consumption.

We’re also encouraging businesses to avoid using water for non-essential activities such as:

  • Watering flowers, gardens and green spaces
  • Cleaning a path (unless for health and safety)
  • Cleaning company cars and vans (other than the windscreen, windows, lights, indicators and number plates as stated in the highway code)
  • Filling up ornamental fountains

For more help and guidance on how to use less water, take a look at our water saving tips and our range of Water Efficiency Services that have been designed to help businesses of all sizes understand their water usage and take control of consumption.

Where can I find more information?

More information can be found on your wholesaler’s website. You can also visit MOSL’s website which has introduced a new national map showing when drought restrictions are applied to postcode areas.

If you’re a Wave customer and a NEUB is introduced, we’ll contact you. You can make sure we’ve got your most up-to-date contact details by signing into My Account and updating your details.