Exemptions to permanent water use rules

There are certain types of water and other special limited circumstances that can be exempt from the permanent water use rules, either automatically or by applying for an exemption.

Automatic exemptions

You do not need approval from your water authority to use water:

  • classified as recycled, reclaimed, rain or grey water (except if supplemented by drinking water).
  • during or immediately after applying fertilisers
  • testing irrigation systems
  • for existing gardens and lawns for occupational health and safety purposes (e.g. to limit dust) as a result of construction/reconstruction/renovation activities, motocross, equestrian or similar events.

Limited circumstances exemptions

In the following special limited circumstances, you can apply for an exemption to the Permanent Water Use Rules.

Medical condition or disability

If you have a medical condition or a disability, you can apply for an exemption.

Complete the Permanent Water Rules Exemption Form and email it to our exemptions team.

Garden of Significance

A public or private garden that has significant botanic, environmental or historic qualities is considered a ‘Garden of Significance’. You can apply for an exemption to the Permanent Water Use Rules to ensure your garden can be watered appropriately.

Complete the Garden of Significance Exemption Form and email it to our exemptions team

Planting new lawn

When you install or sow new grass you are required to apply for an exemption which allows you to water it outside of the hours allowed in the Permanent Water Use Rules for up to 28 days. This exemption only applies to ‘warm season grass’ (Couch, Buffalo and Kikuyu) which is best suited to Melbourne’s climate and is water efficient.

Complete the Warm Season Grass Exemption Form and email it to our exemptions team.


Sportsgrounds can water in accordance with water restrictions or Permanent Water Use Rules.

During staged restrictions (excluding Stage 4) schools and councils can water outside of allowed watering times, subject to submitting a Water Use Plan to their local water utility for approval. For information on Water Use Plans see the Sportsground Fact Sheet.

Complete the Sportsground Water Use Plan Application and email it to our exemptions team.

Looking for ways to save water?

Want to reduce the cost of your water bill, create a greener garden or recycle your water? We’ve got the tips and advice that can help.

Saving water at home
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