There is concern and confusion in the industry about what the drought measures actually are and how they will affect us. The facts aren’t great, but they are better than the rumours.
What are the facts?
Seven water companies across south and eastern England are introducing hosepipe bans from Thursday, 5 April 2012.
Anglian Water, which covers much of the east of England (its Hartlepool Water subsidiary is not affected).
Southern Water; which has customers in both Kent and Sussex.
South East Water, which covers areas in Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire.
Sutton and East Surrey; which operates in east Surrey, and parts of West Sussex, west Kent and south London.
Thames Water, which covers parts of Greater London, the Thames Valley, Surrey, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, and Kent.
Veolia Central, which covers parts of northwest London, Surrey, Beds, Bucks, Herts and Essex.
Veolia South East, which covers southeast Kent.
In these areas, the hosepipe ban means that swimming pools cannot be topped up from a hosepipe although customers can fill or maintain a pool “using a hand-held container filled with water drawn directly from a tap”.
Hot tubs and spas are not covered by the ban and can be filled in the usual way although Swim Spas come into the same category as pools.
There are precise definitions of the legislation that applies to our industry here. As you can see, new pool builds and commercial pools are exempt as are pools having a new liner fitted or undergoing refurbishment.
What are the rumours?
Some water authorities have misunderstood the Act and told people that hot tubs and spas are included in the ban and can’t be filled or topped up either. That isn’t true.
The BSPF are in discussion with Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), who agree that it has been miscommunicated and are working to rectify the situation but regrettably the damage has been done.
Of course, this Temporary Use Ban raises the spectre of a Drought Order which would then affect commercial pools but not public bathing facilities, however such an order has only come into force once in the last decade.
So what do we do?
The first thing to do is to make sure that your customers and potential customers know the facts rather than listen to the gossip.
The drought is certainly newsworthy and affects everyone in some way so it’s a situation where some form of PR or a press release is an ideal response, and you will find some tips and advice on how to do that if you follow either of those links.
You should also contact your customers directly and make sure that they know what the situation is, how it will affect them and what you can do to help.
Practical advice and opportunities.
This drought has raised a lot of topics to the fore that we should perhaps have been looking at more closely already.
Saving water and therefore, if your customer is on a metered supply, saving money should be an issue that our industry makes everyone aware of.
There are the obvious benefits of pool covers in saving water from evaporation and limiting chemical and energy use as well. Are all your customers aware of those facts and could any of them benefit from upgrading their pool cover?
There are new products on the market that can save water such as the MultiCylone. Now has to be a great time to promote a product that has such topical advantages. Combining the MultiCylone with a cartridge filter will give your customer one of the most efficient set ups that there is.
We face some challenges this year but there are opportunities too. We may have droughts in other years to come but people aren’t going to want to give up their pools or stop aspiring to one, particularly if we have long, hot summers. People love to swim.
Our industry will adapt as it always has and products and practices will change and improve. Even a lack of clouds can have a silver lining.
And speaking of improvements…
We at Golden Coast are pleased to announce the launch of our new B2B Web Shop, www.GCTrade.co.uk
It’s free for anyone to browse but in order to place an order you must have an account with Golden Coast and be given a unique log in by us. Just use the links on the site to apply for an account or to contact us.
So spring is here and summer is on the way. The season begins. Our last newsletter had a checklist of things designed to help you promote your business and make the most of 2012.
All the best and if you have any thoughts you’d like to share about any issues raised in this newsletter then please use the comment box below.