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Even Tougher Water Restrictions Are Coming: What Do They Mean For You?

Slip'n'slide toys and washing cars with hoses will soon be banned, as "severe" new water restrictions come into force next month in NSW.

Currently, people living and working in the Sydney, Blue Mountains, and Illawarra regions are under level one water restrictions.

But starting from December 10, as Australia braces for another hot and dry summer season with little to no rain forecast in many areas, tougher level two restrictions will apply to all NSW residents and businesses in those areas.

Fines of up to $550 will be in force for breaching the stricter rules, which ban many activities which use a lot of water.

Sydney Water said the heightened restrictions were "severe", but added that everyone doing a little bit to save water can make a huge difference.

According to Water NSW, the latest total storage across all dams in the state sits at 46.1 percent, following a 0.5 percent drop in just the last week.

The biggest changes in the new water restrictions will affect how and when people can water gardens and wash cars, as well as stricter conditions for pools and spas.

Watering Lawns and Gardens

Currently, people in NSW can water lawns and gardens before 10am or after 4pm using a hand-held hose with a trigger nozzle, or between those times using a watering can or bucket.

Drip irrigation systems or other 'smart' watering systems -- such as those with automated weather adjustments, rain sensors or soil moisture sensors -- can also be used.

From December 10, however, only a watering can or bucket can be used to water lawns or gardens. The before 10am and after 4pm restrictions remain.

Drip irrigation systems or 'smart' watering systems can only be used for a maximum of 15 minutes a day.

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Additionally, no standard sprinklers, soaker or weeping hoses, mist sprayers or tap timer can be used unless connected to a smart watering system.

No water is allowed to run off on hard surfaces such as pathways or roads.

Some exemptions to these conditions can be made -- such as where people have medical conditions meaning they can't carry watering cans or buckets, or only have carer help at certain times of the day.

Washing Vehicles

Under level one water restrictions, non-commercial vehicles, buildings, garbage bins and bilges for boats could be washed at any time using a bucket or a hose fitted with a trigger nozzle or high-pressure cleaning equipment.

Under level two restrictions, cars, trailers or boats can no longer be washed with a hose even if it is fitted with a trigger nozzle. Cars, trucks, vans, motorbikes or caravans can only be washed using a bucket and sponge or at a commercial car wash.

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Boats that have been in seawater can be washed for a maximum of 10 minutes a day using a hose fitted with a trigger nozzle, but boat motors can only be flushed with a bucket or purpose-designed flushing device.

Cleaning Buildings and hard surfaces

Under level two restrictions, spot cleaning can still be done on hard surfaces for health, safety or emergency reasons, using a hose fitted with a trigger nozzle or high-pressure cleaning equipment.

Windows and other glass surfaces can only be washed with a bucket and cloth or sponge, except where a professional window cleaner with an exemption permit is hired.

Brooms can still be used to clean paths, driveways, and other hard surfaces.

Filling pools

Stricter rules are also coming into effect for households with pools.

Under level two restrictions, existing pools or spas can be topped up using a hose fitted with a trigger nozzle, or using a watering can or bucket for a maximum of 15 minutes a day.

This can only be done where water is lost because of evaporation and not where water has deliberately been removed from the pool or spa.

New or renovated pools or spas which hold more than 500 litres cannot be filled with drinking water unless there is a valid filling permit and an approved pool cover or lockable spa cover being used.

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Children's toys connected to hoses -- such as 'slip n' slides' and sprinklers for children to run under -- are also now banned, Sydney Water said.

Anyone found in breach of the new restrictions can face fines of up to $220 for individuals and $550 for businesses.

To find out more about level two restrictions visit the Sydney Water site here

Featured Image: Getty

Contact the author: vgerova@networkten.com.au