Northern Ireland hosepipe ban: Key questions
Q. Who does the hosepipe ban apply to? Are businesses affected?
A. The hosepipe ban, for now, applies to domestic usage only. Business customers currently are not impacted as it is recognised they rely on water use for their livelihood and may already have water efficient systems in place, such as metering or water recycling systems.
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However, businesses that can conserve water have been urged to do so.
Some businesses have committed to turn off their sprinklers and only washing the windscreens, mirrors, lights and number plates of their vehicle fleets.
Q. Why are we short of water when it rains so much?
A. NI Water said that, despite the many comments on how much rain we experience in Northern Ireland, there is a problem.
It says Northern Ireland has plenty of untreated water - from previous rainfall stored in natural loughs and behind dams etc.
The problem is the sheer amount of water people are using at the tap. Customers are using the water faster than the company can treat it and get it into supply.
A spokesperson said: "We may be surrounded by water, but did you know that despite our planet being covered in water, only 1% of it is actually drinkable."
Q. Can watering cans be used?
A. The hosepipe ban does not apply to the use of watering cans, however people are urged to consider that plants do not need watered every day.
Homeowners could use some water saving crystals to retain the moisture or use the dish water from the sink.
NI Water said: "Consider putting hanging baskets etc into the shade for a day or two."
Q. When are the main times for water use?
A. NI Water said to be careful with water use around peak times: 7am to 9am and 5 to 8pm are the main times for showering and bathing.
It said people should consider taking a shower instead of a bath, and remember to turn off the tap when you are brushing your teeth or shaving.
A spokesperson said: "We would hope that people will voluntarily work with us to reduce their water usage over the coming days.
"A loss of water supply for households is a completely avoidable situation, however, if people continue to use water at the current rate, the loss of supply could become a reality.
"Unnecessary use of water ie washing cars, watering lawns etc, is putting the water supply of your own household and that of your neighbours at risk.
"If everyone simply uses the water they actually need, there will be plenty for everyone.
"By following the simple guidelines, this will negate the need to prolong the hosepipe ban with associated penalties."