From September 2019, fines of $220 and $550 will be imposed on residents and businesses respectively, in Sydney, Illawara and the Blue Mountains for non-compliance with the Level 1 Water Restrictions.
The Level 1 Water Restrictions were imposed in June by the NSW Government in the wake of severe drought that led to a 50% drop in the dam water levels. However, the three-month no-fine period expired last August.
What are Level 1 Water Restrictions?
The level 1 restrictions work as a preliminary step toward water conservation. They help save water by regulating its outdoor use, such as:
Watering gardens: Under the restrictions enforced, hosing gardens is allowed only before 10 AM and after 4 PM. And, the hose used should be fitted with a smart nozzle for controlled water flow. However, watering midday, between 10 AM and 4 PM, can only be done with buckets and cans. Additionally, leaving a hose running unattended is a finable offence as per the restrictions in place.
Filling pools: Filling pools, either new or renovated will require a permit from the authorities. This applies to only pools above 10000-litre water capacity. However, a pool cover is a prerequisite for getting the permit. On the other hand, pools up to 10000 litres have no restriction.
Using water sprinklers: Level 1 restrictions clearly bar the use of sprinklers and similar watering systems. But, there are no specific restrictions on drip irrigation and other intelligent weather sensing irrigation systems.
Cleaning pavements and driveways: Daily cleaning of driveways is prohibited. However, the restrictions allow spot cleaning or high-pressure cleaning for safety reasons.
Washing cars and buildings: The restrictions forbid the use of a hose without a nozzle for washing vehicles and buildings. However, bucket-cleaning is allowed.
The level 1 restrictions are imposed on drinking water and not on any other water source such as bore water, greywater, river water, rainwater or recycled water.
According to the weather forecast from the Bureau of Meteorology, this year's spring season (September to November) is going to be drier with <200 rainfall. If the drought grips harder, Sydney and other parts of Australia will soon slip into Level 2 and Level 3 water restrictions in the coming days.