Can you still fill your hot tub under a hosepipe ban? Experts discuss the rules

Using a hosepipe for paddling pools and water features may be outlawed for now, but hot tubs could escape stringent rules on saving water

two people relaxing in a hot tub on a patio at night
(Image credit: B&Q)

Millions of people in England are now living under a hosepipe ban as soaring summer temperatures and a lack of rainfall have led to drought conditions being declared. 

However, a loophole in the law means that whilst splashing about in a freshly filled pool or listening to the relaxing sounds of an extravagant garden fountain might be under strict rules for now, topping up your hot tub with a hosepipe is technically still allowed. 

But should you do it, and what are the alternative options?

two people sitting inside and on the edge of a hot tub on a patio

(Image credit: B&Q)

Hot tub hosepipe ban exemption

Hosepipe restrictions come under Temporary Use Bans (TUBs), which are part of the Water Industry Act 1991. A TUB instructs domestic customers not to fill swimming pools or paddling pools with a hosepipe or an auto top-up device, although it is still permissible to use hand-held containers, such as buckets.

However, according to Caroline Gould, head of legal at South East Water: 'The restrictions under the Water Industry Act 1991 apply to domestic swimming and paddling pools, not hot tubs. We believe that this is due to hot tubs at the time being viewed more as baths, which are not a restricted activity.'

hot tub on deck surrounded by bamboo

(Image credit: Future)

What does the hot tub industry say?

'If you’re under a hosepipe ban and think you might need to re-fill your hot tub, check with your water company first, via the guidance on its website,' says Chris Hayes, managing director of BISHTA (British Spa and Hot Tub Association). 

'Also, we normally advise that water in a properly sanitised hot tub is safe for a month. However, most hot tubs have a water circulation and filtration system, so with careful use of sanitising products water can safely stay in for three months if necessary.'

hot tub underneath a stone gazebo

(Image credit: Redwood Stone)

Invest in your hot tub water

There are a number of things you can do in terms of hot tub maintenance to make the most of the water already in your hot tub so you can take a responsible attitude and avoid re-filling for now, says Chris. 

'Keep the lid on the tub when it’s not in use to avoid water evaporating. Fix any leaks immediately, however minor. Maintain and clean the hot tub filter regularly and in line with manufacturer’s instructions. And if you do have to empty the hot tub, use the water for other purposes, such as watering the garden.'

We all need to do our bit for garden water saving, so perhaps think twice before you reach for the hosepipe. 

Jayne Dowle
Freelance writer

Jayne Dowle is an award-winning gardening, homes and property writer who writes for publications including Sunday Times Home, Times Bricks & Mortar, Grand Designs, House Beautiful and The Spectator. She was awarded the Garden Journalist of the Year accolade at the Property Press Awards in 2021.