Exemptions

Sometimes there are special circumstances when you need to water your garden more often, and you may apply for a temporary exemption from the watering roster.

You can apply for an exemption if you are installing a new garden or a new lawn, including roll-on lawn, runners, shredded lawn and seed.

Both manual and automatic irrigation will qualify for an exemption.

Apply for a watering exemption

Depending on the time of year, you will be granted one of the following exemptions:

1 April–30 September

If your exemption is granted during this time, you are able to water for up to 35 days from the day of planting. We recommend you water your new lawn or garden with 7.5mm of water a day.

Recommended watering schedule:

Days
Amount
Frequency
Time
1–14
 4mm
2 x daily
Before 9am & at 2pm
15–28
 7.5mm
1 x daily
Before 9am
29–35
 7.5mm
Every second day
Before 9am

1 October–31 March

If your exemption is granted during this time, you are able to water for up to 42 days from the day of planting. We recommend you water your new lawn or garden with 10mm of water a day.

Recommended watering schedule:

 Days
Amount
Frequency
Time
1–10
 3.5mm
3 x daily
Before 9am, at 12 noon & at 3pm
11–20
 5mm
2 x daily
Before 9am and at 3pm
21–28
 10mm
1 x daily
Before 9am
29–42
 10mm
Every second day
Before 9am


Please note:

  • We don't grant exemptions for properties with a licensed bore, as these are managed by the Department of Water. Please contact the department on 1800 508 885 (option 1) if you have a licensed bore and would like to apply for an exemption.
  • We don't grant exemptions for Aqwest or Busselton Water Board. Please contact your supplier directly if you would like to apply for an exemption.

Exemption conditions

Random inspections may occur – if you don't comply with the exemption conditions you risk a $500 fine. The breach will be the responsibility of the property owner, not the person who installed the lawn, plants and irrigation system.

All exemptions cease after the approved exemption period, calculated from the date your new lawn and/or garden was installed. Normal watering rosters apply after this date.

At the end of the exemption period, the settings on your irrigation controller must be amended according to the sprinkler roster for your area.

Other exemptions

If you are currently managing or planning to establish a community garden, which is a productive garden where people come together to grow food, you may apply for an exemption from the sprinkler roster that applies to your area.

A community garden is defined as a garden that:

  • is managed by a community group and/or a not-for-profit organisation
  • involves the participation of the wider community and/or a specific community (e.g. retirement village) in the day to day operation of the garden
  • includes growing fruit, vegetables and herbs as primary activities.

A community garden does not include a productive garden at a school. These gardens may be hand watered daily but the normal sprinkler roster applies.

How to apply

The community garden manager needs to call 13 10 39 and will be required to provide the following information: 

  • the address of the community garden
  • their name, telephone details and email address
  • the name of the person responsible for watering the community garden
  • if the community garden uses a bore or scheme water
  • the Waterwise design features incorporated in the community garden
  • the date the exemption is requested to commence

Exemption conditions

For community gardens south of, and including, Kalbarri and Kalgoorlie 
  • Between 1 September and 31 May you will be allowed to water the garden every day.
  • From 1 June to 31 August you will only be allowed to water it 3 days per week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, if required to maintain healthy plant growth. 
  • The amount of water applied daily must not exceed 10mm. 
  • Sprinklers must only be run once on any of these given days and is not permitted to be on between 9am and 6pm.
  • Drip irrigation can be run twice on any of these given days provided that the total daily application amount does not exceed 10mm.
For community gardens north of, and including, Kalbarri and Kalgoorlie 
  • An irrigation system can be used every day in these community gardens through the year, if required to maintain healthy plant growth.
  • The amount of water applied daily must not exceed 20mm. 
  • Sprinklers must only be run once on any of these given days and is not permitted to be on between 9am and 6pm.
  • Drip irrigation can be run twice on any of these given days provided that the total daily application amount does not exceed 20mm.
Licenced bore owners should contact the Department of Water on (08) 6364 7600 to discuss this exemption under the conditions of their licence.

Property owners or tenants who want to test their irrigation system must do so only on their allocated watering day/s and times.

Find your watering days

If you are using a contractor from the turf, garden or landscaping industries, they can run the irrigation system for the minimum extent necessary while it is being installed, maintained, tested or repaired, including during the winter sprinkler ban. We advise that the ‘minimum extent necessary’ is considered to involve limiting testing to a maximum of 2 minutes per station. 

It is preferred that the contractor displays a sign stating that testing is in progress.

Property owners or tenants may operate their irrigation system for a maximum of 2 minutes per station following the installation or repair of an irrigation system. You must be present when the testing is being undertaken and there must be some evidence of the repairs (such as broken ground, new sprinkler heads) or evidence that the system has just been installed, otherwise you risk receiving a fine for breaching the watering roster.

This does not apply during the winter sprinkler ban. 

Winter sprinkler ban

The winter sprinkler ban runs from 1 June to 31 August each year across Perth, Mandurah and some parts of the South West. 

Please note that irrigation system testing by scheme water users is not permitted during this time. 

Maintenance testing of bores is permitted during the winter sprinkler ban. Bore owners may operate an irrigation system using domestic bore water for 2 minutes per station while the system is being installed, maintained or repaired. Any maintenance testing must be carried out between 6pm and 9am on your allocated watering day. Please contact us to elect one of  your watering days for maintenance testing of your bore. This will help to avoid incorrect reports of sprinkler ban breaches that could be made by neighbours or passers by.

Winter sprinkler ban

You can water indoor plants including those in glasshouses through efficient irrigation practices.  For example, for many glasshouse plants, the use of a mist spray for up to one minute four times a day is satisfactory.

If you have an aviary you are allowed to put your sprinklers on to cool down birds in their cages. 

A person, during the course of employment in the turf, garden and landscaping industries, can apply 10 mms of water immediately after the application of fertilisers, wetting agents or vertimowing. 

This exemption is not available to general customers who are expected to carry out these activities and watering on their allocated day and within the allowed times.

A person can use water to the minimum extent necessary for fire fighting or training for fire fighting.

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