There are some situations where 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.

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 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.

Permanent Water Saving 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.
Window washing
  • 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.
Vehicle washing
  • 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 other situations where you may be granted an exemption from the Permanent Water Saving Rules. 

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

Target 150

Let’s make every drop count and reach our usage target of 150 litres of water per person, per day.

Rinse and repeat

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

Create a waterwise garden

How you can make your garden greener.

Annual Water Outlook

Every year we work with our fellow metropolitan water organisations to publish the Annual Water Outlook for Melbourne.