While some parts of the world rely on individual participation to ensure sustained water conservation efforts, others have needed to impose direct restrictions. Outdoor water-use restriction is one of the most common methods of household water use limiting in America. As the name implies, this type of ban restricts the outdoor use of water supplies. Often called a watering ban or a hosepipe ban, this type of regulation can affect lawn irrigation (sprinklers), car washing, recreational water use (swimming pools), grass planting, and washing pavement areas with water.
In most cases, outdoor water-use restrictions are imposed by local or state governments. If enacted by a state government, local authorities may impose further restrictions in isolated areas. This type of ban is often used during periods of intense drought, and it is designed to preserve water for essential uses, such as drinking, flushing toilets, and firefighting. Bans may also be enacted on an extremely local or temporary basis if there are water main breaks or issues with water towers and reservoirs.
These restrictions often come with their own guidelines. For example, many bans seek to impose an ”even/odd” system, wherein odd-number addresses may use outdoor water on odd-numbered dates, whereas even-number addresses do the same on even-numbered dates. Water use may also be restricted to specific days of the week, and use may be prohibited in the afternoon—when much of the spray may be lost to evaporation.
Outdoor use water bans are an essential piece of water conservation. Much outdoor use is non-essential, which allows residents to cut down on their water use without adopting life-changing habits. However, outdoor use water bans—though incredibly important—do not strike the heart of water conservation efforts. In order to fully shift the conversation toward water conservation, individuals must self-impose personal restrictions on indoor water use, which is where much of the work is to be done. Regulating this type of use is nearly impossible, but individual efforts can have a significant impact.