Northern Ireland Water has issued a public apology after admitting that it had exceeded its powers in respect of the terms of the Article 116 hosepipe ban it imposed over the summer between June and July.
The apology and admission were posted on the publicly-owned company’s website.
It had come under fire after banning not only car-washing and garden-watering but washing walls, windows, paths, patios and private boats under threat of a substantial fine and a possible criminal record.
The list of banned activities was in line with legislation changed on mainland Britain in 2010 but not, it turned out, adopted by Stormont.
After taking legal advice the company has apologised to customers, admitted that “our interpretation of Article 116 was too broad” and announced it was now working “to have our legislation changed to ensure it is appropriate for Northern Ireland’s needs. “