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Ongoing Water Restrictions in Sydney

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Water Restrictions

The effect of the increasing population has resulted in a growing demand for water supplies. Together with low rainfall, Sydney is experiencing a shortage of supply of water.

The daily average residential consumption of water in Sydney is 210 liters per person — thirty per cent higher than Melbourne’s average consumption. In effect, water restrictions are strictly enforced across Sydney.

Stage 1  

When dam levels are lower than 50 per cent of its capacity, stage 1 is declared. The lowest water restriction is basically doing the conservation measures above but with penalties if breached.

Stage 2

Stricter than stage 1, outdoor water use allowed three times weekly and only before 10 AM or after 4 PM. Pools with 10 thousand litres capacity will require a permit from the local council.

Stage 3

Almost the same with stage 2, but instead of three times, outdoor water use is limited to two times per week only.

Sydney is currently on level 1 water restrictions. There are lots of things we can all do to help preserve water and keep our lawns and gardens looking heathy during this time.

There are exclusions and exemptions that apply to the current water restrictions, these are:

Excluded types of water

  • Recycled water – This is cleaned wastewater and goes through Sydney’s purple pipes. It is generally used for watering gardens and flushing toilets.
  • Greywater – This is a by-product of cleaning. Usually from sinks, shower and washing machine, it can be utilized to water garden and lawns.
  • Rainwater – The water that’s gathered and stored in tanks when it rains. Rainwater can be used for laundry and watering of gardens and livestock.
  • Bore water – The underground water that is collected by drilling bores in the ground.
  • River water – This water is sourced from rivers, but you will need to get a license before you can utilize it.



Did you know you are automatically exempt to water your new turf for the first week. You can do this 1 – 2 times a day before 10 am and after 4 pm after the turf has been delivered. Making sure you follow the turf suppliers instructions. You can continue to water your lawn after this time with a hand held hose fitted with a trigger nozzle, a bucket or a watering can.

Need more time to establish your new lawn? You may be eligible to apply for an extended exemption to allow you to water your new lawn for an additional 7 weeks. Visit Sydney Water for more information.

Water-saving tips

Most of the water that is used in Sydney is used at home. Being water efficient helps to ensure that there’s enough for everybody. Below are the things we can do to conserve water in your garden.

For existing and established lawns:

For existing lawn‘s a few simple steps should be taken to maintain a healthy green lawn .

  • Only water your lawn when it requires watering.
  • Mow your lawn higher than you would normal do to about 50 mm. This will help reduce evaporation of your ground moisture.
  • Encourage deeper roots by giving your lawn longer less frequent watering. This will enable your lawn to have a higher tolerance to dry conditions.
  • If rain is forecast wait a few extra days before you water your lawn and let nature do the work for you.
  • Watering your lawn and garden between 4 pm and 10 am will reduced evaporation from your irrigation
  • Hit two birds with one stone by washing your car on the lawn. Not only are you watering your turf, but the phosphates present in car shampoos also fertilizes the grass at the same time.
  • Winter up keep is also strongly recommended that way you will have a heathy lawn going into summer.

If you are preparing to install a new lawn:

Here are some things you need to consider before laying your new turf to make it as drought tuff as possible.

  • Choose a good quality turf underlay make sure it is not too sandy. As a sandy soil will not hold water.
  • Consider placing drip irrigation in the soil prior to laying your new turf. This will reduce evaporation when irrigating your new home lawn.
  • Spread water crystals on your turf underlay prior to laying your turf and rake them in evenly. The water crystals will retain water while the turf is getting watered and then will released this moisture overtime as the soil dries out.
  • When purchasing your new turf consider buying variety that has a better drought tolerance such as Kings Pride Soft Leaf Buffalo, Sapphire Soft Leaf Buffalo, a drought tolerant Couch variety or one of the new Zoysia we have in stock.

Did you know: By having a healthy lawn around your home you are dramatically reducing the ground temperature around your house. So not only does a green lawn look pleasing to the eye it is also helping the environment at the same time.

Small changes to the way you maintain your lawn during this time of drought means you can have a healthy lawn and abide by the enforced water restrictions.



Sydney Water

Where can I get information about water restrictions?

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