NSW Water Restrictions
NSW Water Restrictions: What You Need to Know
Water restrictions are a set of rules put in place by the New South Wales (NSW) government and local regions to manage water usage during times of drought or low water supply. The water restrictions you’ll follow will depend on where you are located in NSW, so a person living in Sydney will adhere to different guidelines to a person living in Newcastle.
In this article we explore the various water restrictions that apply around New South Wales.
Table of Contents
Water Restrictions in Newcastle and the Wider Hunter Region
The Smart Water Choices initiative are permanent water conservation measures that help our community continue to save water for future dry periods. Smart Water Choices apply to both residential and business properties connected to Hunter Water’s water supply network. This includes Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Cessnock, Maitland, Port Stephens, Dungog and small parts of Singleton.
What’s included in Smart Water Choices?
These measures include:
- All hand held hoses must have a trigger nozzle. Trigger nozzles provide more control over the water flow of your hose so less water is wasted.
- Water lawns and gardens before 10am or after 4pm. This avoids the hottest part of the day when water wastage occurs due to evaporation.
- No hosing of hard surfaces such as concrete, paths and driveways. By swapping to a broom or leaf blower, you’ll save water from being washed down the drain.
- Watering with a sprinkler, irrigation system or hose is permitted any day before 10am or after 4pm.
What’s excluded from Smart Water Choices?
Some basic exclusions from Smart Water Choices include:
- Recycled Water
- Greywater (water from sinks, showers, washing machines etc.)
- Rainwater (provided the tank/dam is not topped from or switched to, the drinking water supply)
- Bore water
- Water used for firefighting, testing and related activities.
Water Restrictions in Sydney, Blue Mountains and the Illawarra
The NSW government has replaced Level 1 water restrictions with Water Wise Guidelines (which apply from December 1st), which have eased restrictions but still encourage water conservation. These restrictions apply to everyone in Sydney, the Blue Mountains, and the Illawarra region, including residents and businesses.
What’s included in the Water Wise Guidelines?
Under the Water Wise Guidelines, residents and businesses can use drinking water to:
- Water lawns and gardens before 10am and after 4pm using a hand-held hose fitted with a trigger nozzle, sprinklers, or standard watering systems.
- Water new turf and gardens at any time for up to 28 days.
- Water lawns and gardens with drip irrigation systems or smart watering systems at any time.
- Clean hard surfaces such as driveways and paths (best done using high pressure cleaning equipment) only for health, safety, and emergency reasons.
There are also restrictions on using drinking water for filling swimming pools, spas, and fountains, and washing vehicles and boats.
Exemptions in the Water Wise Guidelines
While the Water Wise Guidelines apply to everyone in Sydney, the Blue Mountains, and the Illawarra, there are some exemptions for certain activities and situations. According to the NSW Government, the following exemptions apply:
- Watering new turf for up to four weeks after installation
- Watering new plants for up to four weeks after planting
- Watering with a drip irrigation system or smart watering system
- Watering with a bucket or watering can
- Filling a swimming pool or spa for the first time
- Filling a pond or water feature for the first time
- Using recycled water, greywater, bore water, or river water
If you believe you qualify for an exemption, it is important to check with your local council or water authority to confirm that your activity is exempt.
Why Do We Have Water Restrictions in NSW?
Water restrictions are implemented to manage water usage during times of drought or low water supply. The NSW government monitors the water levels in dams and rivers and determines the level of water restrictions needed to conserve water. By reducing water usage, the government can ensure that there is enough water for essential needs such as drinking, firefighting, and sanitation.
Water restrictions also encourage residents and businesses to be more mindful of their water usage and to adopt water-saving habits. Conserving water can help to reduce water bills and protect the environment by reducing the need for water treatment and distribution.
Implications of Water Restrictions
Impact on Daily Life
Water restrictions can have a significant impact on the daily lives of residents. During times of water restrictions, residents are required to adhere to restrictions on outdoor water use, such as watering lawns and gardens, washing cars, and filling swimming pools.
In addition to outdoor water use restrictions, residents may also be required to limit their indoor water use. This may include taking shorter showers, fixing any leaks, and only using washing machines and dishwashers when they are full.
While these restrictions may seem inconvenient, they are necessary to ensure that there is enough water to meet the needs of everyone in the community. By conserving water, residents can help to reduce the risk of water shortages and ensure that there is enough water for essential services, such as firefighting and hospitals.
Impact on Businesses
Water restrictions can also have a significant impact on businesses, particularly those that rely on water for their operations. During times of water restrictions, businesses may be required to limit their water use or find alternative ways to operate.
For example, landscaping businesses may be required to limit their outdoor water use or find alternative ways to maintain lawns and gardens. Or a commercial car wash may be required to reduce the amount of water they use for their services or find cleaning alternatives that require less water.
In addition to the direct impact on their operations, businesses may also be impacted by the wider economic implications of water restrictions. For example, if water restrictions lead to a reduction in tourism, this could have a significant impact on businesses that rely on tourism for their revenue.
While water restrictions can be challenging for both residents and businesses. By working together to conserve water, we can help to reduce the risk of water shortages and ensure that there is enough water for essential services and future generations.
Penalties for Non-Compliance
If you do not comply with the water restrictions in your area, you may be subject to penalties, such as fines. These fines can cost around $220 for individuals and $550 for corporations, and potentially more depending on the breach. Mostly, breaches are policed via community reporting.
It is important to note that these penalties may vary depending on your location and the severity of the offence. If you are unsure about the penalties in your area, it is recommended that you check with your local council or water authority.
Water Saving Tips
Water is a precious resource, and it is essential to conserve it as much as possible. Here are some water-saving tips that can help you reduce your water usage and save money on your water bills.
Indoor Water Saving Tips
- Fix leaks: Leaks can waste a lot of water, and they can be expensive too. Check for leaks regularly and fix them as soon as possible.
- Install water-efficient fixtures: Replace your old showerheads, taps, and toilets with water-efficient fixtures. This can help you save a significant amount of water.
- Use a bucket: Use a bucket to collect water while waiting for the shower to heat up. You can use this water to water your plants or flush your toilet.
- Shorten your shower: Take shorter showers to save water. A five-minute shower can save up to 45 litres of water.
- Turn off the tap: Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, shaving, or washing your face. This can save up to 10 litres of water per minute.
Outdoor Water Saving Tips
- Water your lawn in the early morning or late afternoon: Watering your lawn during the hottest part of the day can lead to evaporation and water wastage. Water your lawn in the early morning or late afternoon to reduce water loss.
- Use a watering can: Use a watering can to water your plants instead of a hose. A watering can uses less water than a hose and can be more precise.
- Use a broom: Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway and patio. This can save up to 200 litres of water per use.
- Use recycled water: Use recycled water, greywater, or rainwater to water your plants. This can help you save a significant amount of water.
By following these simple water-saving tips, you can reduce your water usage and save money on your water bills.
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