The Victorian Government's permanent water saving (or use) rules are a set of common-sense rules to reduce demand and make sure we use water efficiently.

These rules are in place at all times. Whenever water restrictions are also in place, the more severe rule or restriction applies. There are penalties for not following the rules.

These rules took effect from November, 2011, and are uniform across Victoria.

Key water saving rules:

Hand-held Hose

Water from a hand-held hose must not be used for any purpose (whether or not the use is subject to a permanent water saving rule) at any time unless the hose is:

  • Fitted with a trigger nozzle; and
  • Leak-free.

Residential or commercial gardens and lawns

A residential or commercial garden or lawn cannot be watered except with:

  • A hand-held hose, bucket or watering can at any time; and
  • A watering system between the hours of 6 p.m. – 10 a.m. on any day.

Public gardens and lawns and playing surfaces

A public garden or lawn area or a playing surface cannot be watered except:

  • With a hand-held hose, bucket or watering can at any time;
  • With a watering system fitted with a rain or soil moisture sensor between the hours of 6 p.m. – 10 a.m. on any day; and
  • In accordance with an approved Water Use Plan.

Fountains and water features

Water cannot be used in a fountain or a water feature unless the fountain or water feature recirculates the water.

Cleaning of hard surfaces

Water cannot be used to clean hard surfaces (including, driveways, paths, concrete, tiles, timber decking), except:

  • Where cleaning is required as a result of an accident, fire, health hazard, safety hazard or other emergency;
  • If staining to the surface has developed, and then only once a season;
  • In the course of construction or renovation,

And then, only by means of:

  • A high pressure water cleaning device; or
  • If such a device is not available, a hand-held hose or a bucket.

The permanent water saving rules are uniform across Victoria (Melbourne and regional) and form part of each water corporation's permanent water saving plan. More information on these can be found on each water corporation's website.

The rules will not prevent the need for water restrictions during major drought periods, but they will help us use water more efficiently and encourage all Victorians to value this precious resource for the long term.