Belfast Telegraph

Garden centres facing huge demand for watering cans following hosepipe ban

Gardeners have been forced to become water carriers since the measure was introduced.

A hosepipe ban in Northern Ireland has prompted an unprecedented rush on another gardener’s friend, the watering can.

Cans of all shapes and sizes have been flying off the shelves across the region as gardeners turn to more labour intensive means to keep their plants and lawns hydrated.

While householders are banned from hosing flowers in the ongoing heatwave, and face fines of up to £1,000 if caught, the use of watering cans is still allowed.

Business has seldom been as brisk for watering can sales rep Neil Griffiths.

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Rosemary Rainey with her watering can (David Young/PA)

“The demand over the weekend was unbelievable,” said the Co Antrim man, who works for Stewart Plastics.

“It caught me by surprise. I didn’t think about it over the weekend.

“It was only this morning when I got phone calls I suddenly realised there’s going to be a demand on watering cans.”

He added: “This morning we have had several orders, for five-litre and 10-litre cans.

“Older people would tend to go for a five-litre because they are lighter and with the 10-litre people are trying to get as much in as they can.

“There’s lots of demand this morning, it’s good for business.”

Robin Mercer, owner of the popular Hillmount Garden Centre on the outskirts of Belfast, was forced to order a consignment of extra cans after a weekend which nearly cleaned him out.

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Robin Mercer says he is inundated with demand for watering cans (David Young/PA)

“We probably sold more watering cans this weekend than we have in the last two months,” he said.

“As soon as the hosepipe ban was announced, everybody was up getting their watering cans.

“We’re only left with small watering cans.

“All the big ones are gone, everybody wanted bigger ones.

“First thing this morning I was on the ball at 9am and I have a big order for a lot more watering cans, so hopefully they’ll be in as quick as possible.”

Keen gardener Rosemary Rainey, from east Belfast, is struggling to keep her spectacular array of blooms watered.

“I find I am using just as much water as before except I am the beast of burden now, rather than the hose,” she said.

“I was always economical and turned the hose off when I was walking from one plant to the other, whereas now I have to hump watering cans and when you have muscle problems as I have it makes the job a two-hour job every evening now, rather than less than an hour with a hose.

“So from a personal point of view I am finding it difficult.”

The hosepipe ban has been introduced in response to a 30% spike in demand for water during the scorching summer in Northern Ireland.

Treatment plants are struggling to process the volumes of water customers are using.

Tankers from Northern Ireland Water are working to transport water from the mains supply to top up low levels in a number of reservoirs.

At the location of one quick-fill supply point in south Belfast, Maynard Cousley, a senior water supply manager at NI Water, urged people to conserve as much water as they could.

“Our demand has risen up 30% higher than it would normally be and really the problem is the demand has outstripped our production capability,” he said.

“We have 23 significant water treatment plants right across the province and almost all are operating to their full 100% capacity.

“That’s we are asking people to conserve water.”

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