Wine Industry

water restrictions now apply

Level 1 water restrictions now apply. 

While the majority of customers should be able to accommodate these restrictions, we recognise that some businesses rely on outdoor water use for continuity of operations. Water use for critical business activities may be exempt from restrictions. 

Find more detailed information on your obligations as a business during Level 1 water restrictions or to apply for an exemption.


Water use efficiency (WUE) means applying the available water effectively and efficiently, to get the best possible return on its use. WUE can be expressed as grape yield per the amount of water applied (tonnes/ML) or wine produced per the amount of water applied (kL wine/kL water).

For both vineyards and wineries, sound management of water resources is essential. In vineyards, efficient irrigation can add value by increasing grape yield, whilst also increasing the quality of the wine grape.

In winery operations, where most of the water is used in once-through cleaning processes, reducing water use can save money. By conducting a site ‘water use’ audit, training staff, retrofitting equipment and investigating recycling opportunities, wineries may be able to reduce water use by over 25 per cent.

Irrigation is by far the greatest water use in vineyards. Research has shown that improvements in irrigation equipment alone will not deliver optimal water savings. A ‘whole site approach’ needs to be undertaken to bring about the best use of available water. This involves managing the relationships between vineyard and irrigation design, soil characteristics, climate, runoff and water quality.

Key advice:

  • Rate irrigation highly within the management system.
  • Get to know the soils properly.
  • Design and maintain irrigation systems correctly.
  • Monitor all aspects of each irrigation event.
  • Use objective monitoring tools to schedule irrigation.
  • Use more than one tool for scheduling irrigation.
  • Retain control of irrigation scheduling.
  • Remain open to new information.
  • Engage a certified irrigation designer. For more information visit Irrigation Australia