Permanent water-saving rules and Target 150

Permanent water-saving rules were introduced in 2011, and are always in place so that we use water efficiently. But we can all do more – and initiatives like Target 150 are a reminder to keep doing our bit to conserve our precious water supplies.

Know the rules

The Victorian Government’s water-saving rules encourage a common-sense approach to the everyday use of drinking water. They do not apply to recycled, reclaimed, rain or grey water, except where it is supplemented by drinking water.

People walking through public water fountain
Under the permanent rules, water fountains and features must recirculate water.

In summary:

  • Hand-held hoses can only be used if fitted with a trigger nozzle and free from leaks.
  • Hand-held hoses, buckets or watering cans can be used at any time to water household and commercial gardens and lawns, as well as public gardens, lawns and playing spaces.
  • Watering systems can only be used between 6pm and 10am, and must be fitted with a rain or soil moisture sensor if being used to water public gardens, lawns and playing spaces.
  • Water cannot be used to clean hard surfaces, including driveways, paths, concrete, tiles and timber decking.
    There are a few exceptions, in which case a high-pressure water cleaning device or hand-held hose or bucket must be used:
    • after emergencies like accidents, fires, or health and safety hazards
    • where surfaces have been stained – and then only once a season
    • during construction or renovations.
  • Water cannot be used in a fountain or water feature, unless it is recirculating the water.

For further details, visit the Victorian Government’s information on permanent water-saving rules.

Target 150

Target 150 is a voluntary water-efficiency initiative to get us thinking about how much water we use. Put simply, it encourages us to limit our water consumption to 150 litres per person, per day.

Melburnians are already great water savers: our average daily water use is currently at around 157 litres – but we can’t get complacent.

Do you know if your water use is on target? It’s worth checking out, and as easy as looking at your latest water bill.
Your bill will tell you if you’re meeting Target 150 based on the number of people in your household. If it only shows your total household water use, simply divide this by the number of people in your household to calculate the average daily water use per person.

History of water restrictions

Water restrictions are not currently in place for Melbourne, but this wasn’t always the case. For reference, here’s the history of water restrictions in our city.

Date​ Restrictions implemented​
01 December 2012​ Water restrictions ceased and new permanent water use rules implemented​​
01 December 2011​​ Stage 1​
01 September 2010​​ Stage 2​
02 April 2010​​ Stage 3​
01 April 2007​​ Stage 3a​
01 January 2007​​ Stage 3​
01 November 2006​​ Stage 2​
01 September 2006​ Stage 1​


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