Permanent water saving rules (PWSR)
Our community recognises water is a precious resource and shouldn’t be wasted. The permanent water saving rules (PWSR) are a set of simple, common-sense rules to reduce demand and make sure we all use water wisely.
The permanent water saving rules are always in place, and are uniform across Victoria.
The rules apply to drinking water only. They do not apply to greywater, tank water (rainwater), bore water or recycled water.
All hand-held hoses must:
- be fitted with a trigger nozzle, and
- be leak-free.
Gardens and lawns
Residential and commercial gardens and lawns can be watered:
- with a hand-held hose (fitted with a trigger nozzle) at any time, any day, or
- with a sprinkler or watering system after 6 pm or before 10 am on any day (or overnight).
A watering system is any automatic or manually operated system of sprinklers, drip hoses, weep hoses, etc. Even a simple garden sprinkler connected to a tap is considered a watering system.
The most efficient and effective irrigation system is a sub-surface drip hose, connected to a timer to water overnight. This ensure plants get water near their roots, and minimises water loss to evaporation.
Public gardens, lawns and playing surfaces
Public gardens, lawns and playing surfaces (e.g. bowling greens, football/cricket ovals, soccer pitches, etc.) can be watered:
- with a hand-held hose (fitted with a trigger nozzle) at any time, any day,
- by a sprinkler or watering system fitted with a rain or soil moisture sensor after 6 pm or before 10 am, on any day (or overnight).
A watering system is any automatic or manually operated system of sprinklers, drip hoses, weep hoses, etc.
No restrictions apply to watering plants or vegetables at wholesale, retail or municipal plant nurseries.
Fountains and water features
Fountains and water features must recirculate water (almost all of them do).
Paved areas and hard surfaces
You can use water to clean driveways, paths, decking, concrete or other hard surfaces, only:
- if required as a result of an accident or fire
- there is a health or safety hazard
- if staining has developed (once a year)
- during construction or renovation.
Use a high-pressure water cleaner if available. Otherwise, a hand-held hose or bucket may be used.
There are no restrictions on washing windows.
Cars and boats
Cars, boats and other vehicles can be washed at home at any time or any day, using
- a high-pressure water cleaner; or
- a hose fitted with a trigger nozzle; or
- a bucket or watering can.
The same rules apply to car dealerships.
Pools, spas and ponds
There are no restrictions on filling or topping up pools, spas or ponds.
Enforcement and penalties
Permanent water saving rules (PWSR) are enforced under the Water Act (1989).
If you witness a breach of the rules, please contact us with details of the offence. An authorised water officer will investigate and report. Official warnings and on-the-spot fines can be issued for offences, and in severe cases, prosecution may be sought.