Water restrictions

Level 1 water restrictions are in place

Severe restrictions will apply from 10 December 2019.

Find out how Level 2 restrictions will affect you.

More than 85% of Greater Sydney’s water supply relies on rain. This means that our water is in short supply during prolonged droughts.

Water restrictions limit how and when we use drinking water outdoors.

Water restrictions apply to everyone in Sydney, the Blue Mountains and the Illawarra. This includes both residents and businesses.  

If we all do our bit and save a little, together we'll make a big difference.

What's allowed under Level 1 water restrictions?

You can water lawns and gardens: 

Tick icon - large before 10 am or after 4 pm using a hand-held hose fitted with a trigger nozzle

Tick icon - large between 10 am and 4 pm using a watering can or bucket

Tick icon - large any time with drip irrigation systems

Tick icon - large any time with watering systems featuring one of these:

  • automated weather adjustment
  • rain sensor
  • soil moisture sensor.
What can you do if you have an assisted living arrangement?
Call 13 20 92 or email us, if you have a carer come to help you at certain times of the day, and we'll try to consider your individual needs.

You can water new turf:

Tick icon - large 1 - 2 times a day before 10 am and after 4 pm for one week after it's delivered, as long as you follow the instructions provided by the turf supplier.

Tick icon - large using sprinklers (including soaker hoses) and watering systems ONLY if the newly turfed area is 70 m2 or greater, for this one week period.

You cannot:

Cross icon no background use sprinklers and soaker hoses after the
one week establishment period, unless you have an exemption permit.

How can you apply for an exemption to establish your new turf?
If your newly turfed area is 70 m2 or greater, you may be eligible for an exemption to allow you to water the turf for an extra seven weeks. Once you've purchased your new turf and know the date it is being laid, email us the details (turf supplier's company name, owner's name, property address, copy of the receipt, proposed date for turf to be laid, size of newly turfed area) to request an exemption and watering plan.

You can:

Tick icon - large top up an existing pool or spa with drinking water to replace water lost through evaporation

Tick icon - large fill a new or renovated pool that holds less than 10,000 litres with drinking water without a permit.

You cannot:

Cross icon no background fill a new or renovated pool or spa that holds more than 10,000 litres with drinking water, if you don't have a one-off pool filling permit and an approved pool cover permanently attached to the pool. Your pool supplier must have a business water restriction exemption permit before they work on your pool at your property. 

How can you apply for a one-off pool filling permit?
Once you have your approved pool cover and you're ready to fill your pool, ask your pool supplier to email us
 the details (owner's name, pool capacity, property address, proposed date to fill the pool and their business water restrictions exemptions permit number) to receive a one-off pool filling permit for your pool.

If you're partly or fully emptying your own pool, email us your name, address, phone number, pool capacity and proposed date to fill the pool.
You can:

Tick icon - large  spot clean hard surfaces for health, safety or emergency reasons, using a hose fitted with a trigger nozzle or high pressure cleaning equipment.

You cannot at any time:

Cross icon no background clean hard surfaces with a hose such as paths, driveways and paved areas as part of general cleaning  

Cross icon no background  leave hoses and taps running unattended.
You can:

Tick icon - large wash non-commercial vehiclesand buildings at any time using a bucket, a hose fitted with a trigger nozzle or high pressure cleaning equipment

Tick icon - large clean garbage bins and bin wash bays using a hose fitted with a trigger nozzle or high pressure cleaning equipment

Tick icon - large flush boat engines using a specially designed flushing device attached to the hose

Tick icon - large clean bilges and essential safety components on boat trailers, such as brakes and wheels using a hose fitted with a trigger nozzle or high pressure cleaning equipment.

You cannot at any time:

Cross icon no background wash vehicles and buildings using a hose without a trigger nozzle

Cross icon no background leave hoses and taps running unattended. 

What if your business is affected by water restrictions?
If you can't follow the restrictions to operate your business, you can Apply for a water restrictions exemption for your business.

Couple watering garden waith watering wand

Water your garden before 10 am or after 4 pm

Frequently asked questions

Types of water excluded Uses of water excluded
  • Recycled water (supplied in some parts of Sydney through purple pipes)
  • Water parks - the exclusion only applies to publicly accessible permanent structures. Inflatable, mobile or temporary water play areas of any type are not covered by this exclusion
  • Greywater (water from sinks, showers, washing machines etc)
  • Water used for firefighting, testing and related activities, including clean-up
  • Rainwater (as long as the tank/dam isn't topped up from, or switched to, the drinking water supply)
  • Water used for dust suppression 
  • Bore water
  • River water (you need to have a licence)
If you're using a sprayer attached to your hose to apply chemicals (such as fertiliser or pesticide), the sprayer must have an on-off water flow control on the handpiece.

The on-off control must enable you to quickly and completely shut off the flow of water through the sprayer when the chemical is not being actively applied.

It is important that you turn the water flow off when you're not actually applying the chemical.

If you're a non-residential customer and you use water outdoors, you may be able to apply for an exemption. Please read the restrictions and exclusions carefully first as you may not need to apply for an exemption.

Find out more about water restrictions exemption requests.

If you see someone deliberately misusing water, you can  make a report about water restrictions. 
What are the fines for not following the restrictions?
Fines of $220 apply to individuals and $550 for businesses*


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