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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 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.

What’s allowed under Level 1 water restrictions?

Watering Lawns and Gardens

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

You can’t:

  • use standard sprinklers and watering systems at any time
  • leave hoses running unattended

Cleaning vehicles & buildings

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

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 running unattended

Filling pools and spas

You can:

  • top up an existing pool or spa to replace water lost through evaporation
  • fill a new or renovated pool or spa if you have a permit and pool cover from your pool supplier

Cleaning hard surfaces (paths & driveways)

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

You can’t:

  • clean hard surfaces such as paths, driveways and paved areas with a hose as part of general cleaning
  • leave hoses running unattended

What’s excluded from the restrictions?

Types of water excluded from the restrictions

  • Recycled water (supplied in some parts of Sydney through purple pipes)
  • Greywater (water from sinks, showers, washing machines etc)
  • Rainwater (as long as the tank/dam isn’t topped up from, or switched to, the drinking water supply)
  • Bore water
  • River water (you need to have a licence)

Uses of water excluded from the restrictions

  • Water parks
  • Water used for firefighting, testing and related activities
  • Water used for dust suppression and concrete mixing
  • Automatic (drive through) car washes

Who can apply for an exemption from water restrictions?

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.  ind out more about water restrictions exemption requests click here.


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