Ground irrigation device

When using alternate sources such as rainwater, bores and greywater, you are not required to follow the guideline. If possible, please use alternative water sources before using town water.

A summary of the information included in the Water Efficiency Guideline has been included below for your convenience


Contents of the Water Efficiency Guideline 

The guideline contains information about:

  • How much water your garden actually requires.
  • How to plan your garden and irrigation system.
  • How much water emitters and sprinklers use.
  • Water consumption targets under restrictions.
  • Watering devices – what you can use to water.
  • Operating requirements – how you can water.
  • Watering periods – how long you can water.


Compliance with the guideline

Compliance with the guideline is required in the following circumstances:

  • Properties (residential and business properties) connected to town water supplies, including rainwater tank top-up systems or automatic switching devices connected to the town water supply must follow the guideline.
  • Non-residential premises where the area to water exceeds 500 square metres will be subject to extra requirements. Please contact us to discuss these requirements. Check that your business is being a responsible water user.

Users are also required to follow water restrictions. Check your region for your current water restrictions.


Efficient irrigation requirements

Efficient irrigation system

An efficient irrigation system must have the following features:

  • A network of permanent piping connected to emitters which has been designed and installed to water a specific landscape area.
  • The maximum output capacity of each emitter within the irrigation system must not exceed 9 litres/minute*.
  • The irrigation system must be fitted with either a manual timer with a maximum range of two hours or an automated timer, used with a soil moisture sensor or rain sensor to prevent the system operating during rain or where the soil already holds adequate moisture to sustain plant growth.
  • Where drip-line is used, it must be pressure-compensated and consist of permanent plastic tubing which has inline or internal emitters (inside the hose) spaced at regular intervals of at least 30 centimetres.
  • Drippers may only be used for lawn irrigation where certified by a certified irrigation professional.
  • The use of an efficient irrigation system must be in accordance with the operating requirements and watering times determined by the water restrictions in place for your area.

*A certified irrigation professional is permitted to certify an irrigation system as an efficient irrigation system using emitters with a different flow rate, provided the system is fit for purpose and delivers the same or better water efficiency outcomes when used in accordance with this irrigation guideline.

Efficient sprinkler

Sprinklers are attached to the end of a garden hose and are generally moved around the garden or lawn from time to time to cover the area to be watered. To be an efficient sprinkler, the device must:

  • Be non-fixed.
  • Have a maximum output capacity which does not exceed more than 9 litres of water per minute.
  • Be capable of connection to a standard garden hose or permanent piping of 15 millimetre diameter or less.
  • Be connected to and used in conjunction with a timer.
  • Have an adjustable distribution pattern so that hard surfaces are not watered.
  • Be used in accordance with the operating requirements and watering times determined by the water restrictions in place for your area.

Operating requirements for an efficient irrigation system or sprinkler

An efficient irrigation system or efficient sprinkler must be operated efficiently to conserve water. When watering gardens and lawns by any means, you should:

  • Apply water at a rate so that it does not pond, pool or run off.
  • Don't apply water when the soil is already adequately moist to sustain plant growth, whether as a result of rain or other watering.
  • Apply water in such a manner so that it does not fall on buildings or hard surfaces and run to waste.
  • Use a manual timer with a maximum timing capability of 30 minutes with an efficient sprinkler.
  • Don't apply water in windy conditions where the distribution pattern of the irrigation or sprinkling systems will be affected.
  • Apply water only to gardens that are sufficiently mulched to reduce evaporation.
  • Apply water to only lawns that have been laid on a soil underlay with a minimum depth of at least 100 millimetres.


Smart Approved WaterMark label

Smart approved watermark label

The Smart Approved WaterMark label helps you identify products and services that reduce water use outdoors and around the home.

The guideline identifies irrigation products that display the Smart Approved WaterMark. Look for the Smart Approved WaterMark label (see image on right) when selecting a product. If the product does not carry the symbol ensure the water output meets the approved guideline.

For more information on Smart Approved WaterMark products visit the Smart Approved WaterMark website.


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