Update February 18 2020: Following recent downpours, the NSW Government and Sydney Water have announced that Sydney's water restrictions will be wound back to Level 1 on Sunday, March 1. Click here for information on how you can water your garden during Level 1 water restrictions.

The below information is valid until 29 February 2020 only.

The NSW Government and Sydney Water have today announced that Level 2 Water Restrictions will be in effect from Tuesday, December 10. As part of the wider community, it is important that each and every one of us do our bit to conserve Sydney's supply of clean drinking water - and as keen gardeners, we at Flower Power thought we would share with you what is and is not allowed under these new restrictions. We've also got a few tricks up our sleeves to help your garden thrive while preserving water.



You can... You can't...
Water lawns and gardens before 10am or after 4pm using...

  • A watering can or bucket (you can water this way for any amount of time as long as 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, provided that it has one or more of the following features:
    • Automated weather adjustment.
    • Rain sensor.
    • Soil moisture sensor.
  • 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.

Information from Sydney Water. Last updated 5/12/19.


Please note that if you've just laid new turf, different rules apply for that part of your yard for a short period to allow your turf to establish. Click here to learn more.



For a watering system to count as a permitted smart watering system under these Level 2 restrictions, it requires a few specific attributes. The following is what Sydney Water define as a smart watering system:

A ‘smart watering system’ is a system that's controlled by a device that responds to changes in weather and/or water demand from sensors and/or external weather inputs to automatically adjust its targetted water delivery. Watering programs should be optimised for local conditions and aimed at plant survival rather than growth. You can't connect weeping hoses, soaker hoses, sprinklers and other watering devices usually intended for direct connection to a hose to a smart watering controller to comply with Level 2 restrictions.



We know that many gardeners, like us, appreciate the ease and convenience of hose-on products. Here is some advice from Sydney Water on how you can use them through these Level 2 water restrictions.

If you're using a sprayer attached to your hose to apply chemicals (such as fertiliser or pesticide), the sprayer must have an on-off water flow control on the handpiece. The on-off control must enable you to quickly and completely shut off the flow of water through the sprayer when the chemical is not being actively applied. It's important that you turn the water flow off when you're not actually applying the chemical.



If you find it difficult to hand-water your garden for reasons of disability or ill health, you can apply directly to Sydney Water for an exemption allowing you to water your garden in a manner more suitable to your circumstances. The following from Sydney Water outlines the exemption process:

You can apply for an exemption from water restrictions for medical, cultural, legal or other important reasons. Please email exemptions@sydneywater.com.au and include your name, phone number, property address where the exemption will apply, and reason for needing an exemption. If you're applying on behalf of someone else, for example if you're a carer, please include the property owner's name. We'll email you to let you know if you're eligible and send a permit. 

If you are unable to email, you can phone Sydney Water on 13 20 92 and apply for a permit that way.



Both in and out of water restriction periods, there are plenty of things we can do as gardeners to help conserve water - and at the same time, ensure our plants get the very best out of the water we give them. In fact, our garden experts' top 4 water-wise gardening tips align perfectly with the Level 2 restrictions set out above!

  1. Timing is everything. Water your garden in the early morning, so the water can reach the roots of your plants without too much evaporating away.
  2. Work smarter, not harder. Use effective, compliant smart watering systems and always focus your watering on the soil around the root zone - that's where your plant will gain the most benefit. A thorough soaking less often is a far more effective way to water most garden plants than frequent light sprinkles that may only wet the foliage and not the soil. Time to upgrade your watering equipment? Click here to see our range of irrigation options, or here for watering cans..
  3. Mulch magic. Mulching isn't just a way of making your garden beds look pretty - it also performs the important function of helping to keep the soil temperature down. This helps prevent evaporation and therefore keeps the moisture in the soil for longer. Organic mulches will break down over time and need replacing, however will also add beneficial nutrients to the soil. Inorganic mulches like pebbles won't break down, but are more effective at cooling the soil. Pop a layer down of about 5cm of your chosen mulch over your soil. Browse our range of mulches here.
  4. A helping hand. Some soils are a little on the hydrophobic side and naturally repel water, especially in drought conditions - but that's easily fixed. If your soil or potting mix is hard to wet, apply a soil wetting agent such as Amgrow Wettasoil to help it absorb and retain water. You can also use Amgrow Water Crystals when planting to help hold water in your plants' root zone, and Yates Waterwise Drought Shield Spray to help prevent your plants transpiring (essentially, sweating!) away the water you provide them.
  5. Train your plants. When your plants receive a daily sprinkle of water, that is what they will continue to expect and require in order to thrive. If you train your plants to expect an occasional soaking with a watering can or bucket, where the water reaches the root zone, in most cases they will happily adapt to thrive off this less-frequent watering schedule. Not only this, as mentioned above, a deep watering is much more beneficial for your plants!



At Flower Power, we are also strong advocates of water recycling. Across our garden centres and our large growing facility, we utilise a range of recycling techniques including bore water, dam water, rainwater tanks and the redirection of excess garden bed water to tanks, to ensure that we use water efficiently and help conserve Sydney’s drinking water supply.

For those who are interested in recycling water, Flower Power can deliver, fit and install rainwater tanks. Click here for more information.