Note: The NSW Government and Sydney Water have announced that water restrictions will proceed to Level 2 on Tuesday December 10, 2019. To find out what this means for your new turf, and how you can water it under the new Level 2 restrictions, click here.

The advice contained in the below article applies only until Monday December 9, 2019.

If there's one thing everyone wants during spring, it's a green lawn. But with Level 1 Sydney water restrictions now in effect, there's a lot of uncertainty around watering your lawn - and particularly around the establishment of new turf, which often requires specialised and frequent watering. Fear not - we're here to make things clear, so you know exactly what you can and can't do when it comes to laying new turf.

A worker installing new, green, healthy turf. If you're in the market for a new lawn, it's definitely worth installing turf this month.

The good news

There's really no need to worry - Level 1 Sydney water restrictions shouldn't stop you from establishing a new, healthy, green lawn! Not only do the restrictions actually comply with best practice for garden watering, Sydney Water advise that there are special provisions for anyone who is laying new turf in their yard. According to them, you may water freshly-laid turf for one week after delivery, provided that you comply with the directions provided when your new turf is delivered.


Further exemptions

If you have just laid new turf, you may be eligible for a further exemption allowing you to water your lawn according to your turf supplier's directions for up to four weeks. Sydney Water explain the process as follows:*

Under this exemption, you may be eligible for an exemption to water new turf for up to four (4) weeks according to the instructions provided by the turf supplier. An automatic exclusion applies to all customers who buy new turf. The exclusion allows you to water your new turf area only (not the area around it as well) for one (1) week from the date of the delivery docket according to the watering instructions provided by the turf supplier. After the initial week has elapsed you can water with a hand-held hose with a trigger nozzle before 10am and after 4pm.

All water systems can only be used if you have one or more of these features installed:

  • Automated weather adjustment
  • Rain Sensor
  • Soil moisture sensor
Please respond to the dot points below and email your responses to

The details we require to process the permit are:

  • Company Name (Turf Contractor/Supplier who laid the Turf)
  • Attach a Copy of the Receipt or Docket Number from the Turf Contractor/Supplier
  • Customer name (Where the Turf has been laid)
  • Customer address (Where the Turf has been laid)
  • Is your area larger than 70 sq metres?
  • The date the Turf was laid:

We'll assess your proposed watering plan and advise you of any special conditions.


As we don’t know how long these restrictions will be in place, it is important that all Sydneysiders do their part in following the current restrictions. Thank you for playing your role in conserving Sydney’s water supply by using water wisely as part of your daily activities. If you have any questions please contact Sydney Water on 13 20 92, option 4, then option 3.

*Information provided by Sydney Water. Last updated 03/09/2019


After your exemption period is up, regardless of its length, you must revert to watering your lawn the same way you water the rest of your garden - in compliance with Stage 1 Sydney water restrictions, as follows:

Watering lawns and gardens during Level 1 water restrictions

You can... You can't...
  • Water lawns and gardens between 10am and 4pm with a watering can or bucket.
  • Water lawns and gardens by hand-held hose before 10am or after 4pm, as long as your hose is fitted with a trigger nozzle.
  • Water lawns and gardens any time with drip irrigation systems
  • Water lawns and gardens any time with watering systems with one or more of the following features:
    • Automated weather adjustment
    • Rain sensor
    • Soil moisture sensor
  • Water new turf for one week after it's delivered, as long as you follow the instructions provided by the turf supplier.
  • Use standard sprinklers, watering systems, soaker hoses, weep hoses or tap timers at any time.
  • Leave hoses or taps running unattended.

Information from Sydney Water, 29/08/19.


Alternatives to drinking water

Remember, the above water restrictions relate to drinking water - water that comes from Sydney's dams and catchment areas to your home. At Flower Power, we're strong advocates of recycling water, and one way to get involved at home is by installing a rainwater tank. When you collect rainwater, you can use it however you like. If you're keen to learn more about rainwater tank installation, please click here and consider having one professionally installed through Flower Power!