Water Restrictions

Level 1 Water Restrictions Now Apply

We're currently in Level 1 water restrictions, but if dry conditions continue Level 2 water restrictions will commence on 20 January 2020.

As a region we're experiencing the lowest water levels in our dams in over two decades. Water restrictions apply to everyone in the Lower Hunter and reducing our water consumption now will help us save water for our future supply.  Changing a little can save a lot!

Level 1 water restrictions apply to all properties connected to Hunter Water's water supply network in the areas of Cessnock, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Newcastle, Port Stephens, Dungog and small parts of Singleton.View a map of our area of operations

A Quick Guide to Level 1 Water Restrictions

Level 1 water restrictions are simple actions to help save water every day.

Water restrictions table level 1

FAQs - Your Questions About Water Restrictions Answered 

Learn more about how water restrictions apply to your home or business.

Information for homes

Information for business

What's Allowed Under Level 1 Water Restrictions?


What can you do?

What can't you do?

Watering lawns and gardens

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You can:

  • To avoid the heat of the day, water lawns and gardens by hand held hose before 10am and after 4pm if fitted with a trigger nozzle or device that can be turned off instantly
  • Use drip irrigation systems before 10am and after 4pm

You can't:

  • Use sprinklers at any time
  • Leave hoses or taps running unattended

Cleaning external hard surfaces (paths, driveways & concrete)

water restrictions - pathways icon

You can

  • Spot clean for safety, health or emergency reasons with a hose fitted with trigger nozzle or with high pressure cleaning equipment

You can't

  • Use a hose for general cleaning of hard surfaces such as paths, driveways and paved areas
  • Leave hoses and taps running unattended

Washing vehicles, boats and buildings

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You can

  • Wash vehicles, boats and buildings at any time if using a bucket, high pressure cleaning equipment or a hose fitted with a trigger nozzle.

Tip: wash your car on your lawn and your grass will benefit

You can't

  • Wash vehicles, boats and buildings using a hose without a trigger nozzle

Filling private pools and spas

water restrictions - pools icon 

You can

  • Top up existing pools if using a trigger nozzle or device that can be turned off instantly
  • Fill a new or renovated pool or spa over 10,000 litres capacity by obtaining a permit and using an approved pool cover

You can't

  • Top up an existing pool without using a hose fitted with a trigger nozzle or device that can be turned off instantly
  • Leave an unattended hose running in a pool
  • Fill a new or renovated pool or spa over 10,000 litres capacity unless you have a permit and an approved pool cover. Apply for a permit to fill a pool

Internal use

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You can

  • Help water saving efforts by repairing internal leaks as quickly as possible, such as dripping taps or leaking toilets

Tip: Fixing a leaking toilet can save you between 10 to 260 litres a day.

What changes come into effect when Level 2 water restrictions apply?

Level 2 water restrictions will be introduced on 20 January 2020 if dry conditions continue. Level 1 water restrictions will apply until this date.  

Level 2 table

What's Excluded From Water Restrictions?

There are basic exclusions from restrictions activity:

  • Recycled Water
  • Greywater (water from sinks, showers, washing machines etc.)
  • Rainwater (provided the tank/dam is not topped from, or switched to, the drinking water supply)
  • Bore water
  • Water used for firefighting, testing and related activities.

Level 1 Water Restrictions Exemptions  

Residential and business customers and businesses who are unable to comply with the Level 1 water restrictions are required to apply for an exemption. Exemption requests will be assessed on an individual basis.

Apply for an exemption

Report a Suspected Level 1 Water Restrictions Breach  

We take reports of breaches of water restrictions seriously and have a process in place to investigate these reports. Exemptions do exist for health, safety and emergency reasons and for some homes and businesses, such as commercial nurseries and landscapers. 

Report a suspected breach of Level 1 water restrictions

The Next Water Restrictions Levels

Level 1 water restrictions will remain in place until storage levels have fully recovered, but remember, just because it's raining around you, doesn't mean it's raining in our catchment areas. If drought conditions continue, we could move through water restrictions levels 2 and 3.

Water restrictions table - level 2 and 3

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