The date has been set for when a hosepipe ban will come into force in Cumbria.

Restrictions on the use of water by householders across the county will start on August 5 - with the exception of Carlisle and parts of Eden.

The decision has been made by United Utilities, which supplies water across the north west of England.

Some seven million homes will be affected by the move, but those living in Carlisle district and the north-eastern corner of Eden district will be exempt.

While their neighbours will be affected, those living in these areas will be able to carry on as normal because they get their water supplies from local sources which have not been so badly affected by the overall lack of rainfall.

Water resource levels in these zones are considered adequate. The zones are not connected to the integrated network which serves the rest of the region, and so cannot be used to help other areas.

The firm said the ban, known as a Temporary Use Ban, comes after what is believed to be the longest heatwave since 1976.

Martin Padley, United Utilities water services director, said: "Despite some recent rainfall, reservoir levels are still lower than we would expect at this time of year and, with forecasters predicting a return to hot dry weather for the rest of July, we are now at a point where we will need to impose some temporary restrictions on customers.

"It is not a decision we have taken lightly and we are enormously grateful to customers for having helped reduce the demand on our network over the last couple of weeks, but unless we get a period of sustained rainfall before August 5 these restrictions will help us safeguard essential water supplies for longer."

The ban restricts the use of hosepipes or sprinklers for watering private gardens and washing private cars, but customers will still be able to water their gardens with a watering can and wash their vehicles using a bucket and sponge, the firm said, which uses a fraction of the amount of water a hosepipe or sprinkler uses.

Last weekend, United Utilities started to draw water from boreholes in Egremont and less from Ennerdale to reduce the demand on the reservoir and other water sources.

The company points out that a hosepipe uses 540 litres an hour, as much as a family-of-four would use in one day, while a sprinkler left running overnight uses as much water as a family-of-four would use in one week.

A hosepipe ban can reduce water usage by five to 10 per cent, according to research by United Kingdom Water Industry Research, which in the North West would amount to over 100 million litres per day.

United Utilities said the ban was alongside the company's efforts to maintain essential supplies, including maximising water abstraction from ground water supplies, moving water around its regional integrated network of pipes and running a campaign to encourage customers to use water wisely.

Customers can find out whether they are in an area affected by the ban, and get more information on water saving tips, by entering their postcode into the search facility at

The water company has said customers can provide feedback before August 5 if they believe they should be exempt.