Water restrictions

Level 1 water restrictions are now in place

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 and help reduce demand when we’re not getting enough rain.

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, it will make a big difference across Greater Sydney.

What's allowed under Level 1 water restrictions?

  Tick icon - large What can you do? Cross icon no background What can't you do?
Watering lawns & gardens



Watering lawns & gardens icon
Tick icon - large You can:
  • water lawns and gardens with a watering can or bucket
  • water lawns and gardens by hand held hose before 10 am or after 4 pm, as long as your hose is fitted with a trigger nozzle
  • water your garden with drip irrigation systems 
  • water lawns and gardens with watering systems with one or more of these features:
    • automated weather adjustment
    • rain sensor
    • soil moisture sensor
  • water new turf for one week after it's delivered as long as you follow the instructions provided by the turf supplier
Cross icon no background You can't:
  • use standard sprinklers and watering systems at any time
  • leave hoses and taps running unattended
Cleaning vehicles & buildings

Cleaning vehilces & buildings icon
Tick icon - large You can:
  • wash vehicles and buildings with a bucket, a hose fitted with a trigger nozzle or high pressure cleaning equipment
  • clean garbage bins and bin wash bays using a hose fitted with a trigger nozzle or high pressure cleaning equipment
  • flush boat engines
  • 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
Cross icon no background You can't:
  • wash vehicles and buildings with a hose that isn't fitted with a trigger nozzle or high pressure cleaning equipment
  • leave hoses and taps running unattended

Non-residential customers can't:
  • wash vehicles, boats or buildings as part of normal business activities unless they've received an exemption for that activity
Filling pools and spas
Filling swimming pools icon
Tick icon - large You can:
  • top up an existing pool or spa to replace water lost through evaporation
  • fill a new or renovated pool with a capacity less than 10,000 litres without a permit
Cross icon no background You can't:
  • fill a new or renovated pool or spa with a capacity greater than 10,000 litres unless you have an approved pool cover and permit arranged by your pool supplier
 Cleaning hard surfaces (paths & driveways)
Cleaning hard surfaces icon
Tick icon - large You can:
  • spot clean hard surfaces for health, safety or emergency reasons only using a hose fitted with a trigger nozzle or high pressure cleaning equipment
Cross icon no background You can't:
  • clean hard surfaces such as paths, driveways and paved areas with a hose as part of general cleaning
  • leave hoses and taps running unattended

What's excluded from the restrictions?

Types of water excluded Uses of water excluded
  • Recycled water (supplied in some parts of Sydney through purple pipes)
  • Water parks
  • Greywater (water from sinks, showers, washing machines etc)
  • Water used for firefighting, testing and related activities
  • 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)
 

 Frequently asked questions

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.
Under Level 1 restrictions, you can water new turf according to the turf supplier’s instructions for one week from the delivery date without a permit. Please ensure you have a copy of the delivery docket to show when the turf was delivered.

If you need more time to properly establish you new turf, you will need to apply for an exemption under ‘Plants and gardens’ on our exemptions application form. You may be eligible for up to eight weeks of flexible watering of your new turf.

Find out more about  water restrictions exemption requests.

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're concerned about the deliberate misuse of 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*



* There will be a three-month grace period before fines apply. Fines won't be issued until after
1 September.
 

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