by Chris Kondos

Sydney's Water Restrictions - What that means for your NEW Lawn

There’s nothing better than when those long Summer days turn into long Summer nights. Kids playing a game of bare-foot backyard cricket, enjoying the best part of the Summer holidays. What’s not so great is having to play that game in a dustbowl of a back yard.

new turf

With Sydney now having enforced the new Level 2 Water Restrictions, there’s no reason you can’t have a NEW lush green lawn to enjoy for years to come.

In saying that, there’s a lot of uncertainty when laying new turf during this time, so we thought it be best we break it down.



Watering Method – DO’s

Turf can be watered by:

  • A hand-held hose fitted with a trigger nozzle for up to four weeks from the delivery date following the watering plan. This applies to areas of any size.
  • Sprinklers and watering systems for up to four weeks from the delivery date, following the watering plan. This only applies if you have a continuous area of new turf larger than 30m.


YOUR DELIVERY DOCKET IS YOUR PROOF OF PURCHASE TO INDICATE DATE OF PURCHASE. Please keep this in case one of Sydney Water’s Community Officers asks to see it.


Watering Method – DONT’s

  • Use a hose fitted with a trigger nozzle, sprinkler or soaker hose after the four-week watering plan unless you have an exemption permit.
  • Leave hoses and taps running unattended.
  • Water the area around new turf or allow water to run off onto hard surfaces.


Watering Plan

Week 1

  • Water up to three times a day, for a maximum of 30 minutes each session, at any time of day.

Week 2 & 3 

  • Water up to two times a day, for a maximum of 15 minutes each session. You can only water before 10 am and after 4 pm.

Week 4

  • Water before 10 am and after 4 pm, for a maximum of 30 minutes, on no more than three days during that week.

After week 4, you can only water your turf following the water restrictions. This means you can water before 10 am and after 4 pm with a bucket or watering can, or with a smart irrigation or drip irrigation system for a maximum of 15 minutes.


Turf NSW recommends watering established turf no more than once a week. 

** Information extracted from Sydney Water website.




If you can still pull the turf layer away from the ground after four weeks, the roots aren't established yet and you may need to apply for an exemption to continue watering outside the restrictions.

Please email your name, contact details, address where you’re establishing the turf, size of the turfed area and reason why you need to keep watering.


After your exemption period has ended, regardless of its length, you must revert to watering your lawn the same way you water the rest of your garden in compliance with Sydney’s Stage 2 water restrictions.


Watering Method – DO’s

Water lawns and gardens before 10am or after 4pm using the following metods:

  • A watering can or bucket (you can water this way for any amount of time if it's early in the morning or late in the afternoon).
  • Drip irrigation systems for a maximum of 15 minutes a day per watering zone.
  • A smart watering system for a maximum of 15 minutes a day per watering zone, if it has one or more of the following features:
  • Automated weather adjustment.
  • Rain sensor.
  • Soil moisture sensor.


Watering Method – DONT’s

  • Water your garden or lawn at all between 10am and 4pm.
  • Use a standard sprinkler, soaker hose, weeping hose, mist sprayer, tap timer or watering system at any time.
  • Allow water to run off on to hard surfaces, such as paths or roadways.
  • Leave hoses and taps running unattended.
  • Put sprinklers on for children to play under.



It’s also important to remember that the above rules apply to our drinking water. The list below is exempt from the Level 2 Water restrictions in place.

  • Recycled water (supplied in some parts of Sydney from purple pipes).
  • Greywater (water that's collected after being used in washing machines, sinks and showers etc).
  • Rainwater (as long as the tank/dam isn't topped up from, or switched to, the drinking water supply).
  • Bore water (some government restrictions apply).
  • River water (you need to have a licence).


More information can be found on the Sydney Water website https://www.sydneywater.com.au/SW/water-the-environment/what-we-re-doing/water-restrictions/index.htm

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