Permanent water use rules

Permanent Water Use Rules were introduced in 2011 and are in place to help manage our water efficiently. These rules let you know how you can use water around your residential or commercial garden or lawn.

Water use rules, restrictions & responsibilities don't apply to recycled, reclaimed, rain or grey water except if supplemented by drinking water.

Key water use rules

Using a hand-held hose

You can only use a hand-held hose that is fitted with a leak-free trigger nozzle.

Watering your garden or lawn

A residential or commercial garden or lawn can only be watered with:

  • A hand-held hose (with leak free trigger nozzle), a bucket or a watering can at any time; and
  • A watering system between the hours of 6pm – 10am on any day.

Fountains and water features

Fountain or a water features can only be used if they recirculate the water.

Cleaning hard surfaces

You can only clean hard surfaces (including, driveways, paths, concrete, tiles, timber decking) if:

  • cleaning is required as a result of an accident, fire, health hazard, safety hazard or other emergency A watering system between the hours of 6pm – 10am on any day.
  • staining to the surface has developed, and then only once a season (every three months)
  • in the course of construction or renovation.

And then, only by means of a high-pressure water cleaning device, or if such a device is not available, a hand-held hose (with leak free trigger nozzle) or a bucket.

Public gardens and lawns and playing surfaces

A public garden or lawn area or a playing surface can only be watered:

  • with a hand-held (leak free trigger nozzle) hose, bucket or watering can at any time
  • with a watering system fitted with a rain or soil moisture sensor between the hours of 6pm – 10am on any day
  • in accordance with an approved Water Use Plan.

Apply for exemptions to the water rules.

There are certain types of water and other special limited circumstances where you are required to apply for an exemption to the permanent water use rules.

Water use rules FAQs

Do I really have to follow water use rules?

Yes, all Victorians must follow water use rules issued by the Victorian Government. For more information visit the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

Are there set water days?

No, there are no set watering days, you can water every day, however, only when you follow the specific rules mentioned above.

Can I use my watering system?

You can use your watering system between the hours of 6pm and 10 am on any day.

Can I wash my windows?

You can wash your windows using a hand-held hose fitted with a leak free trigger nozzle, bucket or high-pressure cleaning unit at any time, on any day of the week.

Can I water my garden?

You can water residential or commercial gardens and lawns as needed with a hand-held hose fitted with a leak free trigger nozzle at any time, on any day of the week.

Can I wash my vehicle?

You can wash your car, boat or other vehicle at home using a hand-held hose fitted with a leak free trigger nozzle, bucket or high-pressure cleaning unit at any time, on any day of the week.

Can I top up my pool or spa?

A new or existing pool or spa of any size can be topped up only on alternate days between 6am – 8am and 6pm – 8pm using a hand-held hose, bucket or watering can; or, by using an automatic water top-up device at any time.

Translated permanent water use rules

More on saving water

Following water use rules will not only continue to keep our communities green and vibrant, they will contribute to everyone limiting their water usage to a maximum of 155 litres per day, per person. For more information and tips on reducing water use visit our Target 155 page.

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, visit our Saving water page.

If you’re interested to know how we plan to assist management of water shortages in order to enhance Melbourne’s preparedness, view our  Drought Preparedness Plan.

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