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 water restrictions in place, but at the moment, there are Permanent Water Use Rules all Melburnians need to follow. The rules were introduced in 2011 and are always in place to help manage our drinking water efficiently.
Permanent Water Use Rules
Residential and commercial gardens and lawns
- You can water residential or commercial gardens and lawns at any time, on any day using a handheld hose fitted with a trigger nozzle
- You cannot water gardens and lawns using a watering system (manual, automatic, spray or dripper) between 10 am and 6 pm.
Public gardens, lawns and playing surfaces
- 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.
Hosing down hard surfaces
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 emergencies.
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, a 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 vehicles at home using a high-pressure cleaning unit, a hand-held hose fitted with a trigger nozzle or a bucket at any time.
Pools and spas
- You can fill or top up pools and spas.
Fountains and water features
- You can fill and operate your fountain or water feature as long as it recirculates the water.
There are some situations where the Current Water Use 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.
There are other situations where you may be granted an exemption from the Current Water Use Rules.
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.
1. Watering new warm season grass lawns
Exemptions may be granted for the first 28 days after the lawn has been sowed.
2. Medical condition or disability
You’ll need the opinion of a medical practitioner. To get started, complete this form.
3. Maintaining sporting grounds and recreational areas
Watering systems may be used outside the prescribed watering times with a Water Use Plan approved by us. To get started, complete this form.
4. 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.
5. Other reasons
Need to apply for another reason? Use this form.
If water restriction levels change after you’ve got an exemption, you’ll need to apply again.