What is an active playing surface?
An active playing surface is defined as:
- a turf cricket wicket and practice wickets
- a grass running or race track
- a bicycle race course
- a green (that is, croquet, bowling or golf)
- a golf tee-off area
- a tennis court
- a synthetic hockey pitch or synthetic bowling green
- any other principal part of a sports-ground used during a sport game or competition, but does not include the surrounding grassed surface of a sporting oval or a golf fairway, or
- designated soft fall and grassed play areas in registered child care centre.
Who needs to abide by the Active Playing Surface Guidelines?
If you operate an active playing surface as described above, you need to abide by the guidelines.
Are kindergartens covered by the Active Playing Surface Guidelines?
Yes. Soft fall or grassed play areas in kindergartens must abide by the Guidelines for registered child care centres.
What playing surfaces are not covered by the guidelines?
Playing surfaces that are not covered by the guidelines include:
- Fields where social sport is played, eg croquet greens in retirement villages
- Fields that are used for less than 5 hours per week for competition.
What is defined as 'competition'?
Competition has to be official such as fixtures. It doesn't include warm-up, training and any social competition. Some indicators of competition include:
- Teams are registered as part of official competition
- Games are organised or are recognised by a sporting organisation
- Games have an official scorekeeper
- Games have a referee/umpire/other match officials
- Match results are recorded/published
- Players have insurance.
What part of my sporting field is the active playing surface?
The active playing surface is the area used for competition. As a rule of thumb, it is the area 'inside the lines' where the players are engaging in competition. It doesn't include run-on areas, behind the dead ball line or just inside the perimeter fence.
My irrigation system is designed to water the whole field, not just the active playing surface. Will my water allocation be increased to make allowance for this?
No. The water allocation is only for the active playing surface. You will need to adjust your irrigation system so that it only waters the active playing surface or manage within your allocation.
What is a water meter (also known as sub meter or flow meter)?
A water meter is a device which is used to specifically measure and monitor the amount of water used for the irrigation of playing surfaces. It can also assist in determining any leakage in equipment and infrastructure associated with the playing area.
How do we get a water meter installed?
The installation of a water meter is considered 'regulated work', which requires local government approval. This means it can only be installed by a licensed person. Please contact council for further information.
I already have a Water Efficiency Management Plan (WEMP). Do I need to adhere to these guidelines?
All active playing surfaces must be watered in accordance with the Active Playing Surface Guidelines. However, relevant aspects of the WEMP may still apply, particularly for premises with an annual consumption of 10 ML/year or greater. Contact council for further clarification if you have an existing WEMP.
How do I register as an active playing surface?
If you want to use town water on your active playing surfaces, your club or organisation must complete a registration form.
Does our nominated surface manager require any training?
The manager should be, or become, aware of the best management practices. It is recommended to attend an irrigation trainer's course to become familiar with the irrigation scheduling and turf requirements. It is recommended they gather information to include basic maintenance of an irrigation system to assist with daily monitoring of usage.
How do I know how much water my local club can use on our active playing surfaces?
You or council must first undertake a site assessment and calculate a water allocation relevant for your playing surface.
What is a site assessment?
A site assessment is an assessment of the current condition of the active playing surface and must consider the following:
- Soil and turf type
- Climatic zone
- Current water meter reading
- Playing surface dimensions.
A site assessment may be undertaken by council or by the playing surface manager (self assessment). The assessment aims to provide a volumetric water allocation. The allocation will prescribe the total amount of water from the town water supply system to be used on the playing surface.
What is a self assessment?
The playing surface manager may undertake the site assessment and calculate allocation using the Town Water Allocation Calculator. Once completed, the playing surface manager must forward the results of the assessment, including the allocation, to council for confirmation. Council may carry out spot audits of self-assessed playing surfaces to ensure accuracy of assessments and allocations.
How do I determine the dimensions and area of my active playing surface?
Information is provided in the "Guide to Registration Form for Organisations and Clubs" document, available in the Related Documents section.
How do I determine the soil type of my active playing surfaces?
Information is provided in the "Guide to the Registration Form for Organisations and Clubs" document.
Is the allocation relevant only to the playing surface area?
Yes. The allocation doesn't apply to other water uses such as the canteen and toilet blocks and non playing surfaces such as the run on areas of the field.
What if we have not received our allocation results yet, can we still use town water?
The Town Water Allocation Calculator provides an allocation of water from the date the site assessment was undertaken. You are permitted to start using town water on your playing surfaces from the date the site assessment was undertaken provided you start using the irrigation log book and only irrigate during the prescribed times.
Where can I get an irrigation log book?
The log books for each surface category can be downloaded.
What happens if I don't adhere to the Guidelines?
Council will be responsible for implementing penalties for non-compliance.
Where can I find out what times I can water?
Watering times have been summarised in a fact sheet, please contact us for this information or any required forms.
Guidelines for non-turf sports
This guideline applies to non-turf sporting activities that use town water, not for irrigation, but for safety or other reasons (e.g. dust suppression, track maintenance and synthetic surfaces).
These activities referred to, under the definition of an active playing surface include, but are not limited to sports such as BMX, motorcycling, equestrian and pony clubs, as well as hockey fields using synthetic surfaces. The preparation and maintenance of turf cricket wickets and the irrigation of golf greens and tees, lawn bowls rinks, and croquet courts is also included in this category.
Water from the reticulated (town) supply system is not permitted to be used on Non-turf or other playing surfaces except where the following conditions apply:
- the active playing surface has been registered with council
- if directed, a council approved sign is displayed on the premises
- a water meter has been installed to specifically measure and monitor the amount of town water used on the playing surface; and
- a weekly log book of town water consumption is kept and is available for inspection upon request.
In addition to these requirements, specific watering times and other restrictions apply to the Non-turf and Other Sports category as set out below:
- Cricket wicket blocks - Cricket wicket blocks any day between 4:00pm and 10:00am AND for a maximum of 6 hours per week per turf wicket block
- Golf - Any day between 8:00pm and 5:00am AND for a maximum of 9 hours per week
- Lawn bowls, croquet - Tuesday to Sunday between 4pm and 10am AND for a maximum of 2 hours per surface per week WITH an additional one hour per fortnight using a hand held hose with trigger nozzle, or efficient irrigation system to water in chemicals.
- Other sports (Eg: BMX track, synthetic hockey field) - Water immediately prior to use.
- Water restrictions - Non-turf & other sports guide to registration
- Water restrictions - Non-turf & other sports irrigation log book
- Water restrictions - Non-turf & other sports registration form
Guidelines for local sports (turf surfaces)
This guideline applies to local sports fields with turf surfaces catering to Senior, Junior, Amateurs and any other grades of sporting competitions. This category does not apply to turfed cricket wickets, golf greens and tees, croquet courts and bowling greens.
Turf-based playing surfaces include, but are not limited to the following sports: Australian Rules Football, Rugby Union, Rugby League, Softball, Baseball, Football (Soccer) and Touch Football.
Water from the reticulated (town) supply system is not permitted to be used on turf-based playing surfaces except where the following conditions apply:
- the active playing surface has been registered with the relevant water service provider
- a water meter has been installed to specifically measure and monitor the amount of town water used for the irrigation of playing surfaces
- the playing surface is used for competitive activities for more than 5 hours per week during the season
- a site assessment has been undertaken and a volumetric allocation has been received from the water service provider
- irrigation is conducted between Tuesday to Sunday between 4pm and 10am
- the details of all irrigation events are recorded in a log book and are available for inspection upon request; and
- if directed, a water service provider approved sign is displayed on the premises.
Between Tuesday and Sunday before 10.00am – after 4.00pm.
As part of registration, a site assessment must be conducted to determine the volumetric allocation for each playing surface. For further information contact us and ask to speak with our WaterWise technical officer.
- Water restrictions - Local sports turf surfaces guide to registration
- Water restrictions - Local sports turf surfaces irrigation log book
Guidelines for schools
The Active Playing Surfaces Guidelines apply to all schools using reticulated (town) water to irrigate playing surfaces such as sporting ovals. Water from the reticulated (town) supply system is not permitted to be used except where the following conditions apply:
- The active playing surface has been registered with council
- There is access to a water meter that can measure and monitor the amount of water used for the irrigation of playing surfaces
- Watering is conducted using a handheld hose, sprinkler, pop-up delivery systems, or efficient irrigation system during the following times:
- Tuesday to Sunday
- Between 4pm and 10am
- For a maximum of four hours per week.
- If directed, a council approved sign is displayed on the premises; and
- The details of all irrigation events are recorded in a log book and are available for inspection upon request. Public schools are required to register each play surface area to be watered individually with council. In addition to recording the details of all irrigation events, schools are required to maintain a weekly log of total town water consumption at the school. Refer to Related Documents below for the relevant Registration form, Guide to registration and Log book template for schools.
Schools, including public schools, may apply to be considered as a Major Sports or Local Sports playing surface where dedicated water management practices are applied including:
- automated irrigation systems with controller mechanisms, such as moisture sensors; and
- dedicated maintenance procedures (such as aeration and application of wetting agents, regular checks for leaks in equipment); and
- regular record keeping to ensure effective and efficient water use for the irrigation of their active playing surfaces.
If a school wishes to be considered in this category, the school will be required to complete the requirements of the Major Sports categories. This is additional to any existing WEMP requirements (i.e. if a school consumes more than 10 ML/year). These playing surfaces should also be considered for their level of activity and significance, and frequency of use for major competitive events.
- Public schools are requested to contact the Department of Education, Training and the Arts for advice on whether consideration in the Major Sports or Local Sports categories is appropriate.
- Non-government schools should contact council directly for further information and advice on consideration in the Major Sports or Local Sports categories.
- Water restrictions - School turf surfaces guide to registration
- Water restrictions - School turf surfaces irrigation log book
- Water restrictions - Active playing surfaces (online) or Water restrictions - School turf surfaces registration form (PDF)
Guidelines for child care centres
The Active Playing Surface Guidelines apply to all child care centres using reticulated (town) water to irrigate playing surfaces, such as grassed soft fall surfaces.
Water from the reticulated (town) supply system is not permitted to be used on grassed soft fall surfaces at child care centres except where the watering is performed at the following times using a handheld hose with a trigger or twist action nozzle, or alternatively an efficient irrigation system:
- Tuesday to Sunday before 10am and after 4pm for a maximum of six hours per week.
Child care centres are NOT required to:
- Register as an active playing surface with council
- Install a dedicated water meter to measure water used to irrigate their active playing surface(s)
- Display a council approved sign on the premises
- Keep a weekly log book of town water consumption
Ongoing maintenance of turf-based playing surfaces
Playing surface managers must be aware that irrigation is not the only requirement for maintaining playing surfaces and other appropriate management measures will need to be adopted. Managers must adopt a holistic approach to the management of their playing surfaces with an emphasis on other management measures such as:
- Soil moisture monitoring
- Irrigation system auditing
If you wish to obtain a copy of the Active Playing Surface Guidelines please contact Council.