Exemptions to Melbourne's Five Permanent Water Use Rules

Permanent Water Use Rules remain in place all the time to help Melburnians use our drinking water sensibly when watering or cleaning outside. There are some situations where they don’t apply and others where an exemption may be granted.

Permanent Water Use Rules don’t apply if:

- You’re using recycled, reclaimed, rain or grey water.

- The water is needed for human and animal health requirements, firefighting or the safety of vehicles and equipment.​

Some activities are automatically exempt from Permanent Water Use Rules

You don’t need to apply for exemptions for these activities.​

1. Applying fertilisers to existing gardens and lawns

You can use watering systems to water gardens and lawns during and/or immediately after fertiliser has been applied, when:

- this is the only practical time available to do this activity, or

- it’s the manufacturer’s recommended application timeframe​

2. Testing irrigation systems

You can use watering systems at any time to test irrigation systems for leaks and/or to make sure its operating properly.

3. Suppressing dust for occupational health and safety

- that’s the result of construction/reconstruction/renovation activities

- during motocross, equestrian or similar events for the safety of participants, spectators and surrounding neighbours.


When to apply for an exemption to Permanent Water Use Rules

Here’s what to do if you need to apply for these reasons (Otherwise penalties may apply);

1. Medical grounds

You’ll need the opinion of a medical practitioner. To get started, complete this form​

2. Maintaining sporting grounds and recreational areas

If you need to water sporting grounds and recreational areas outside the times described in the Permanent Water Use Rules, you’ll need to develop a Water Use Plan and have it approved by us first. To get started, complete this form.

3. Watering gardens of significance

Some public or private gardens may be considered ‘of significance’ for their botanic, environmental or historic qualities. You’ll need to develop a Water Use Plan with us first and have it approved. To get started, complete this form​

4. Watering new warm season grass lawns (This exemption has its own process)

Exemptions may be granted for the first 28 days after the lawn has been sowed. Visit warmseasongrass.com.au and follow the prompts to get an automatic approval certificate.

5. Other reasons

Need to apply for another reason? Use this form

If water restrictions come into place after you’ve got an exemption, you’ll need to apply again.