Sydney Water Restrictions. What You Need To Know

  • William Demirdonder
  • December 2, 2019
  • No comments
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In December 2019, NSW is facing a particularly bad period of drought. This is expected to continue to worse in the coming months as temperatures increase and rainfall continues to be an issue. Total water storage across Greater Sydney is currently at around 44.5%. While the extended sunny days and warm temperatures may seem like a gift, in truth the region is also experiencing one of the most severe droughts on record. Two years on and the drought in rural New South Wales and Greater Sydney shows no sign of slowing down. In order to control the situation, there are now water restrictions in place across all Sydney suburbs.

Level 2 Water Restrictions Now Apply in Sydney and Illawarra and Blue Mountains

Level 2 Water Restrictions are designed to help minimise the use of water for activities that are deemed non-essential. Water restrictions apply to a number of activities, however, the most common ones that you need to be aware of are watering lawns and gardens, outdoor use of hoses on concrete or hard surfaces as well as activities like washing your cash or filling up swimming pools or water features.

What type of usage do water restrictions apply to?

These restrictions mostly apply to using hoses outdoors for a variety of uses. As a resident in Sydney, you are currently restricted from:

  1. Using sprinklers, soaker hoses, weeping or mist hoses or tap timers to water lawns and gardens.
  2. Watering gardens with any type of hose or automatic watering system.
  3. Leaving hoses unattended for any reason at all.
  4. Allowing water to run off hard surfaces such as paths and driveways.

What are you other options?

Whilst the restrictions are in place to prevent wastage, there are still ways to carry out activities that you may have used a hose for traditionally.

  • You are still able to water gardens, however you must use either a bucket or watering can and complete the watering before 10.00am or after 4.00pm in order to minimise evaporation and waste during the hottest hours of the day.
  • You are still able to use drip irrigation and smart watering systems however the same time restrictions apply as watering by hand, and must not exceed 15 minutes in total during per day.
  • You can top up existing pools or spas using trigger nozzle hoses but this is limited to 15 per day to compensate for natural evaporation.
  • You are able to wash private vehicles with a bucket and sponge, but still cannot use a hose. It would be easiest to make use of water-saving commercial cash washes.

Who do these water restrictions apply to?

The restrictions apply to everyone in Sydney, the Blue Mountains and the Illawarra. This includes all residents and businesses. If we all do our bit and save a little, together we’ll make a big difference.

How can I help save water?

Sydney Water has provided a number of tips to help you reduce your water consumption over the summer. Some of these tips include:

  • Thawing frozen foods in the fridge or microwave instead of under running water.
  • Use the fan setting instead of the cooling feature if you have air conditioning.
  • Sacrificing your precious baths for a quick shower instead.
  • Setting an alarm for your showers to ensure you are keeping it a quick as possible.
  • Don’t leave the tap running while you’re brushing your teeth, washing dishes etc.
  • Put a bucket in the shower to capture runoff water and then use it to water your plants and gardens.
  • Washing your hair in the sink instead of the shower.
  • If you drop ice cubes on the floor, put them in your pot plants instead of the sink.

How long will the restrictions last?

It’s hard to know or give a definite timeline but its expected conditions will only get worse in the coming months. In fact, NSW’s Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey has said she expects level three water restrictions will have to be put in place by March 2020 if conditions continue to worsen.

What are the penalties of now following the guidelines?

Fines for not following Sydney Water Restrictions (including current restrictions) range from $220–550 depending on whether you are an individual or a business. Sydney Water Inspectors are driving around the suburbs all day, and if they spot you doing the wrong thing you can almost be sure they will issue you with a fine. The best thing to do is follow the guidelines. Minimise outdoor use of drinking water as much as possible.

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