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Water Smart

Jump to: Water Restrictions - Tips on Saving WaterHome Waste and Sustainability Advisory Service

Over 85% of Sydney’s water supply is provided by rainfall. This supply provides us with drinking water, which is also used for cleaning, washing and other purposes within households and in businesses. During prolonged periods without significant rain, our supply starts to run low and it is important that we conserve this precious resource by being water smart. 

Water Restrictions

As Sydney's dry conditions are expected to continue, level 2 water restrictions have come into place to help us maintain our water supply. Be aware of water restrictions as fines will apply if they are not followed

Please note: Council is not the enforcement authority for water restrictions. Sydney Water is the responsible authority and have designated officers assigned to this task. If you see someone deliberately misusing water you can report this through the Sydney Water website.

You can:

  • Water your garden before 10am or after 4pm using a bucket or watering can—hoses are not permitted.
  • Use a smart watering system or a drip irrigation system, for a maximum of 15 minutes per day, before 10am and after 4pm.
  • Only wash your car using a bucket and sponge.
  • Top up an existing pool or spa for a maximum of 15 minutes per day using a hose fitted with a trigger nozzle, a water can or a bucket.

You cannot:

  • Leave hoses and taps running unattended.
  • Hose down hard surfaces, unless in an emergency or for health and safety reasons.
  • Fill a pool over 500L without a permit.

Exemptions and Restrictions

You may also be exempt or can apply for an exemption, for example if you're using water from a rainwater tank or have a special condition. Sydney Water's website contains detailed information on how water restrictions may or may not affect the following conditions:

  • Fighting fires, protecting properties and testing fire systems
  • Using recycled water, greywater, bore water or river water
  • Watering lawns, gardens and sports fields
  • Watering new turf
  • Filling pools and spas, and playing with water
  • Cleaning cars and boats
  • Caring for animals
  • Cleaning buildings and other hard surfaces
  • Filling ponds and water features
  • Fixing leaks.
How much water is used in your home?

Tips on Saving Water

All residents, businesses, local councils and government agencies need to follow the Water Wise Rules set by Sydney Water.

Rainwater Tanks

The use of rainwater tanks enables residents to save valuable drinking water, save money and help manage stormwater run-off. 
Rainwater collected from roofs can be used in the garden, laundry or toilet, reducing the need to use drinking water and helping prevent the waste of rainwater that would otherwise go directly into the stormwater system.


Greywater is household waste water that has not come into contact with toilet waste. It comes from the kitchen sink, dishwasher, bath, shower, washing machine and laundry trough. Using greywater instead of drinking water for outdoor purposes could save each household up to 50,000 litres of drinking water each year. 

Being Generally Water Wise

  • Checking for leaks in taps, pipes and dishwasher hoses is an easy way to reduce water wastage. Remember, one leaking tap can waste more than 2,000 litres a month.
  • The most water efficient methods for cooking vegetables are microwaving, steaming or using a pressure cooker. You can also cut down on water loss by using tight lids on pots and simmering instead of boiling rapidly.
  • Installing water efficient taps or tap aerators is a great, inexpensive way to cut your water usage without you even noticing.
  • Thaw frozen foods before you need them or use the microwave instead of placing them under running water.
  • Prevent taps from leaking by turning taps off lightly and replace washers as soon as they begin to leak.
  • Automatic dishwashers can use up to 40 litres of water per load. By using a dishwasher with at least a 3 star/AAA rating1, you can get this figure down to 18 litres per load and still get the kind of sparkling clean dishes you're used to.
  • It's best to wait until you have a full load in your dishwasher before using it. This saves water and energy, and reduces the amount of detergent entering the wastewater system.
  • Keep a container of water in the fridge so that you won't need to run the water down the sink until it's cool enough to drink.
  • Washing fruit and vegies in a half-filled sink instead of under running water is a great way to cut back on water wastage.
  • Rinsing your dishes in a plugged sink rather than under a running tap saves water and is just as easy and effective.
  • Use a sink strainer.
  • Try to use phosphate-free, eco-friendly detergents and cleaning products - there's a great range to choose from these days and they're much better for our environment.
  • Remember to regularly clean the lint filter on your washing machine.
  • Most washing machines have a load adjustment button or dial, so try to set this to match the amount of washing you're doing. If your machine doesn't have a load adjustment function, try to wait until you have enough washing for a full load.
  • Installing one of the latest 3 star/AAA rating showerheads 1 can give you a great shower and save you around 10 litres of water a minute. They also save you energy costs, as you'll use less hot water.
  • To rinse your razor, run a little water into a plugged sink. Rinsing your razor under a running tap wastes lots of water.
  • There's no need to leave the tap running while you brush your teeth. Simply wet your toothbrush before you begin and use a glass of water to rinse your mouth.

Home Waste and Sustainability Advisory Service

Want to conserve water and energy in your household and reduce the price of your utility bill? City of Ryde residents can book a free home assessment to help them understand how they can reduce their home's running costs and make it more liveable, affordable and healthier. 

Last updated on 20 January 2020