Residents in New South Wales will be subject to Level Two water restrictions come 10 December, with the new rules set to dramatically impact how people use water outdoors.
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced the government is fast-tracking Level Two water restrictions, as the state's dam levels continue to drop at an alarming rate amid ongoing drought.
The Level Two restrictions will apply to residents living in the Greater Sydney, Blue Mountains and Illawarra regions and will be enforced from 10 December.
What are level 2 restrictions?
Peter Hadfield from Sydney Water said the water restriction will mainly impact how both people and businesses use water outdoors.
"Everyone is going to have to put their hose and sprinklers away," he said.
“You can only water your garden before 10am or after 4pm and it is only with a watering can or a bucket. The use of unattended hoses isn't permitted and housing of hard surfaces isn't permitted either.
“You can only wash your car with a bucket or at a commercial carwash, not with your hose but you can top up your pool for 15 minutes so you maintain the water level above your skinner box line."
While Sydney Water officers have already been monitoring communities to ensure residents are abiding by water rules, Mr Hadfield warned that “individuals who don't comply with the water restrictions can be fined $220” and "businesses receive a $550 fine."
Businesses that use water outdoors can write to Sydney Water to request an exemption.
Ensure we have a water supply
Typically Level Two restrictions are only introduced when a dam reaches 40 per cent, however as greater Sydney dam levels are at 46.1 per cent and - predicted to drop to 4 per cent next month - Ms Berejiklian deemed it necessary water measures were introduced earlier.
“We're doing this because we want to ensure we have water supply without any concerns, we are doing this because we are being cautious but also because there is no doubt the acceleration of the depletion of water is more than we've had in the past," the NSW premier said.
New South Wales Minister for Water Melinda Pavey shares the concern and has urged residents to prioritise water conservation amid the ongoing drought.
"The level of fall in the catchment levels in Sydney has been outside what we predicted in the Metropolitan water plan bringing the restrictions forward for summer to level two is the right thing to do to ensure that we stretch the availability of water within the Sydney catchment," she said.
Limit your showers
The government will reassess the water situation in the coming months to determine if further restrictions need to be enacted, but Mr Hadfield said he is confident if people use water sparingly not just outside, but inside as well that can be avoided.
“About three-quarters of all the residential use of water is indoors so there is a lot that people can do; make sure your dishwasher or washing machine is fully loaded before you turn it on, make sure you fix any leaks around your house and again the biggest one and it is an easy one to do is just try and limit your showers," he said.
“We are recommending if people can cut their shower time by about a minute that'll save about nine-litres of water and that might not sound a lot for individuals, but if the five-million people across Sydney did that, that'd be a 45-million-litres of water saved every day."
Restrictions across Australia
Despite hot dry conditions across the country, Western Australia is the only other state to have water restrictions, with the government implementing a sprinkler water roster.
Under the scheme residents in Perth and Mandurah are only allowed to use a sprinkler two days a week, with bore water users getting the third day of watering.