Playing by the rules will help keep water flowing for everyone.


As Melburnians we’re great water savers. But Victoria’s hotter and drier climate as well as a fast-growing population mean we all need to keep saving water and make every drop count.

In the past, we've had restrictions in place how we can use water, but at the moment, there are Permanent Water Saving Rules all Melburnians need to follow. The rules were introduced in 2011 and are always in place to help manage our drinking water efficiently.


  • Hand watering

You can water residential or commercial gardens and lawns at any time, on any day using a hand held hose fitted with a trigger nozzle.

  • Watering systems

You cannot water gardens and lawns using a watering system (manual, automatic, spray or dripper) between 10 am and 6 pm.

  • Hand watering

    Public gardens, lawns and playing surfaces can be watered at any time, on any day using a hand held hose fitted with a trigger nozzle.

  • Watering systems

    Public gardens, lawns and playing surfaces can use a watering system between 6 pm and 10 am, any day of the week or be watered in accordance with an approved Water Use Plan.

  • Watering systems for public gardens or lawns must be fitted with a rain or soil moisture sensor.

  • You cannot hose down hard surfaces including driveways, paths, concrete, tiles, timber decking and other paved areas except where cleaning is required, or if there is an accident, fire, health hazard, safety hazard or other emergency. 

  • You can use a high-pressure cleaning unit, or if such a unit is not available, a hose fitted with a trigger nozzle, or a bucket to remove stains from hard surfaces once a season (every three months).

  • You can also use a hose fitted with a trigger nozzle in the course of construction or renovation.

  • You can wash windows with a bucket, high pressure cleaning unit or a hand held hose fitted with a trigger nozzle at any time.
  • You can wash your car, boat or other vehicle at home using a high-pressure cleaning unit, a hand held hose fitted with a trigger nozzle or a bucket at any time.
  • You can fill or top up pools and spas.
  • You can fill and operate your fountain or water feature as long as it recirculates the water.
There are some situations where the Permanent Water Saving Rules don't apply - like when you're using recycled, reclaimed, rain or grey water, or when water is needed for human and animal health requirements, firefighting or the safety of vehicles and equipment.


Automatic exemptions - no application required.

You don't need to apply for exemptions for these activities:

  • 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.


Exemptions available by application.

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

If water restriction levels change after you’ve got an exemption, you’ll need to apply again.

Apply for an exemption


Other documents

Water efficiency for business

While all Melburnians are encouraged to target their personal water use to 150 litres per person per day, businesses can make small changes to be more water efficient too. 

Track your water usage with footprint®

If you’d like to track your business’ water usage to monitor for leaks, assess usage patterns and identify savings opportunities, the footprint® solution is available from Iota, our commercial arm.

Rinse and repeat

Expanding our recycled water network is one of the many ways we’re planning for the future.