More than 85% of Sydney’s water supply relies on rain. NSW has been in drought since mid-2017 and water is in short supply.
Although it may be raining on the coast, droughts are caused by dam catchments not receiving enough water. Warragamba dam levels have been falling at an average of 0.4% per week over the past two years. The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted a hot summer, with no forecast for significant rain.
Level 2 water restrictions
Level 2 water restrictions are currently in place for the Northern Beaches and across Greater Sydney. The restrictions apply to both residents and businesses.
The biggest changes from Level 1 to 2:
- You can only use a watering can or bucket to water your garden before 10 am and after 4 pm.
- You can only use drip irrigation or smart watering systems for a maximum of 15 mins a day before 10 am and after 4 pm.
- You can only top up an existing pool or spa, using a hose fitted with a trigger nozzle, watering can or bucket for a maximum of 15 minutes a day. You can only do this to replace water lost through evaporation, not to replace water deliberately removed from the pool or spa.
- You can only wash your vehicles with a bucket and sponge.
- You need a permit to fill new or renovated pools and spas that hold more than 500 L.
Fines of $220 apply to individuals and $550 for businesses for not following the restrictions.
Water is a precious resource that we can all help conserve. Save water by increasing water efficiency in your home or business and you will see real money savings on your water and energy bills. You will also slow the rate of decline in our dams. Every bit of water we save minimises the effect of drought and water shortages - together we can make a big difference.
Water Savings Partnership
Northern Beaches Council and Sydney Water are teaming up to increase water efficiency in the community. This new partnership will help local businesses and residential strata-managed buildings to improve water efficiency and cut utility costs.
See Sydney Water's water saving tips to find out what you could do now to save water around your home and business.
Saving water for business
Businesses use about a quarter of the water supplied to customers in Sydney each day. If your business relies on using water outdoors and you can't follow the current level 2 restrictions to continue your operations, you'll need to apply for a water restrictions exemption for your business.
Through the Water Savings Partnership, Council is supporting businesses to identify cost savings through water efficiency opportunities and assisting in their implementation.
Businesses with high water savings potential will be contacted directly by Council. If you are interested in this program for your business, or for more information you can contact our Business Water Efficiency Officer.
Saving water for strata
Fixing leaks in individual apartments can add up to a lot of water and cost savings for an entire apartment block. A leaking toilet can waste over 16,000 litres of water a year! Replacing an old single-flush toilet with a 4-star toilet (3.5L flush) will save 50kL and $148 each year on water bills. If you're running a residential property, those numbers can add up significantly.
Sydney Water offers WaterFix for Strata service to reduce water use and utilities costs for residential apartment buildings. The service includes the repair and replacement of leaking taps and toilets with an accurate quotation process and financing options that mean strata won’t need to find any additional funds.
Learn more about Sydney Water's WaterFix© Strata program.
Read more about greywater.
Saving water for home
Save water in your home and you will also reduce your utility bill. There are lots of inexpensive ways to cut your water usage without you even noticing. A standard water efficient showerhead can save you around 10 litres of water a minute and save the average home $60 a year in water and energy costs.
Head to the Sydney Water website to find out more simple things you can do around your home and garden every day to use water more efficiently.
Read more about greywater.