Why you could cop a hefty fine for watering your garden

Melissa Buttigieg
News Reporter

Watering the garden during the day could become a costly exercise, with strict restrictions set to be enforced across parts of NSW from Sunday.

Level 1 water restrictions, which focus on reducing outdoor water use, have been in place for the past three months across some areas of the state, in attempt to combat crippling drought.

More than 85 per cent of Greater Sydney’s water supply relies on rain, which is in short supply during prolonged droughts, according to Sydney Water.

The restrictions, which kicked in on June 1, apply to Sydney, the Blue Mountains and the Illawarra. The government’s three-month grace period is now over, and those caught breaking the rules from Sunday risk fines of up to $550.

Those caught watering gardens at the wrong times during the water restrictions face hefty fines. Source: Getty

What's allowed under the NSW Level 1 water restrictions?

Lawns and gardens may only be watered before 10am or after 4pm using a hand-held hose fitted with a trigger nozzle, or with a watering can or bucket from 10am to 4pm.

Drip irrigation systems are permitted at any time, along with automated weather adjustments, rain sensors, and soil moisture sensors.

New turf may be watered for one week after it's been delivered, as long the turf supplier’s instructions are followed.

Standard sprinklers, soaker hoses, weep hoses, or tap timers are banned under the water restrictions.

It is however okay to use recycled water, greywater, or rainwater to water gardens.

Those wanting to wash their cars may do so at any time using a bucket, a hose fitted with a trigger nozzle, or high pressure cleaning equipment.

From Sunday, NSW residents caught breaching the restrictions can face $220 fines, while businesses found doing the wrong thing risk being stung $550.

Water saving measures also apply in other states across the country.

Watering cans or buckets may be used to water gardens from 10am-4pm only. Source: Getty

Victoria’s permanent water restrictions

In Victoria, permanent water use rules have been in place since restrictions were lifted in 2012.

A residential or commercial garden or lawn can be watered at any time provided it’s with a hand-held hose fitted with a trigger nozzle. A watering system is permitted between the hours of 6pm and 10am.

Victorians cannot use water in a fountain or a water feature unless the water is recirculated.

Water restrictions across Australia:

NSW: Water Restrictions Level 1

ACT: Permanent Water Conservation Measures

Victoria: Permanent Water Saving Rules

Western Australia: Area 3 watering days

South Australia: Water Wise Measures

Queensland: No restrictions

Tasmania: No restrictions

Northern Territory: No restrictions

Up-to-date water restriction information is available at the Bureau of Meteorology website.

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