Australia

Sydney water restrictions in effect from 1 June as drought grips NSW

Tight water restrictions will come into effect across greater Sydney from Saturday. Source: CTK

Tight water restrictions will come into effect across greater Sydney from Saturday as dam levels continue to drop.

Sydney residents and businesses will face fines if they breach impending water restrictions as NSW grapples with drought and dam levels continue to fall.

Water Minister Melinda Pavey on Tuesday announced that level one restrictions would be imposed across Greater Sydney for the first time in almost a decade, starting from Saturday.

The restrictions become compulsory when dam levels fall to 50 per cent but the state government has triggered them early. Dam levels in greater Sydney were sitting at 53.5 per cent on Tuesday.

"With the lack of rain, with the lowest inflows into Sydney's water storages since 1940, the government's come to the decision that it is best to come into water restrictions," Ms Pavey told reporters.

Water Minister Melinda Pavey said level one water restrictions will be imposed from Saturday as Sydney's dam levels keep dropping.
Water Minister Melinda Pavey said level one water restrictions will be imposed from Saturday as Sydney's dam levels keep dropping.
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Under the restrictions, hoses must have a trigger nozzle or another attachment with an instant on-off mechanism and lawns and gardens are to be watered before 10am and after 4pm.

Rules will also apply to the hosing of hard surfaces, the washing of vehicles, boats and buildings, the use of sprinklers and watering systems and filling new or renovated pools.

However, there will be a three-month grace period before fines of $220 for individuals and $550 for businesses were imposed.

A range of exemptions will also be available to businesses in situations where water is critical to their operations, Sydney Water's Catherine Port said.

It's been almost 10 years since Sydney faced water restrictions with the last ones lifted in mid-2009.

Tuesday's announcement comes after Sydney's desalination plant was switched on in January, returning to operation for the first time in seven years.

Ms Pavey said the plant was working at about 50 per cent capacity and would add about 15 per cent to Sydney's water supply when it reached full operation.

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