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Water restrictions

From time to time council changes water restrictions to manage sustainable urban water supply. Restriction levels are communicated on a range from zero to four, with zero being the lowest and four the highest restriction level. The level for individual towns is based on a number of indicators, including the capacity and level of the towns’ water supply and detailed in the Water Restrictions Procedure. 

The restrictions do not apply to greywater, rainwater or private bore water and properties with their own water allocation or licences.

TownRestriction levelDate changedWater supply source
Anakie, Rubyvale, Sapphire017/07/2020Bore
Capella121/06/2021Capella Creek & Tieri pipeline
Comet017/07/2020Comet River, Comet Weir
Dingo017/07/2020Dingo/ Springton Creek
Duaringa017/07/2020Dawson River
Lower Dawson scheme/ SunWater
Emerald, Blackwater, Bluff024/03/2021Fairbairn Dam, Selma/ Emerald town weir
Nogoa Mackenzie scheme SunWater
Rolleston017/07/2020Comet River & semi-artesian bore
Springsure017/07/2020Semi-artesian bore
Tieri007/06/2021Fairbairn Dam, Bedford Weir
Nogoa Mackenzie scheme SunWater

Guide to restriction levels

Find watering times and methods for various uses. Please note this information is a guide. For official reference, please refer to the Water Restrictions Levels Table Extract.

Allocated watering days

Watering methods

  • Level 0

    Water residential gardens and commercial premises

    • Attended hand-held hoses can be used at any time.
    • Sprinklers
      • Odd-numbered houses – Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
      • Even-numbered houses – Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays
      • between 5.00 to 9.00 am and 7.00 to 11.00 pm
    • Sprinklers Rolleston & Tieri
      • West of Warrijo St (Rolleston) and West of Malvern Av (Tieri) – Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
      • East of Warrijo St (Rolleston) and East of Malvern Av (Tieri) – Wednesday, Friday & Sunday
      • between 4.00 to 8.00 pm

    Water public gardens and school grounds

    • Attended hand-held hoses can be used at any time.
    • Sprinklers
      • Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
      • between 7.00 pm to 9.00 am

    Water sports grounds

    • Sprinklers
      • Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays
      • between 7.00 pm to 9.00 am

    Water a commercial market garden or plant nursery

    No restrictions.

    Clean paved areas

    No restrictions.

    Clean windows

    No restrictions.

    Clean personal or hire vehicles

    • Hoses must be fitted with a trigger control nozzle for cleaning vehicles by hand.
    • No limitations apply to automatic car washing systems with recirculation.

    Clean commercial motor vehicle dealer vehicles

    Hoses must be fitted with a trigger control nozzle for cleaning vehicles by hand.

    Clean food transport vehicles

    No restrictions.

    Fill or top up a pond in private or public gardens

    No restrictions.

    Fill or top up a fountain

    No restrictions.

    Fill or top up a private swimming pool or spa

    • Filling new pools – no restrictions.
    • Existing pools may be topped up as per garden watering times.

    Fill mobile water tankers

    No restrictions.

    Top up farm dams and tanks

    No restriction.

    Use water in the construction industry

    No restrictions.

    Any other purpose not stated here, other than inside domestic use and for domestic and farm animals

    Water must not be used without written permission.

  • Level 1

    Water residential gardens and commercial premises

    Garden beds and shrubs

    • Hand-held hoses, watering cans or buckets can be used at any time.
    • Micro spray and drip systems fitted with timers
      • Odd-numbered houses – Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
      • Even-numbered houses – Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays
      • between 5.00 to 9.00 am and 7.00 to 11.00 pm
    • Sprinklers
      • Odd-numbered houses – Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
      • Even-numbered houses – Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays
      • between 6.00 to 8.00 am. and 7.00 to 9.00 pm

    Lawns

    • Hand-held hoses, watering cans or buckets can be used at any time.
    •  Sprinklers
      • Odd-numbered houses – Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
      • Even-numbered houses – Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays
      • between 6.00 to 8.00 am and 7.00 to 9.00 pm

    Water public gardens and school grounds

    • Handheld hoses, watering cans or buckets can be used at any time.
    • Micro spray and drip systems fitted with timers
      • between 7.00 pm and 8.00 am
    • Sprinklers
      • between 8.00 and 10.00 am and 8.00 and 10.00 pm

    Water sports grounds

    • Handheld hoses, watering cans or buckets can be used at any time.
    • Sprinklers, micro spray or drip systems
      • between 8.00 to 10.00 am and 8.00 to 10.00 pm

    Water a commercial market garden or plant nursery

    No restrictions.

    Clean paved areas

    Water must not be used to clean paved areas unless cleaning is required as a result of an accident, fire, health hazard or other emergencies.

    Clean windows

    Water must not be used to clean windows except using –

    • Trigger hoses; or
    • Buckets or watering filled directly from a tap.

    Clean personal or hire vehicles

    Water must not be used to clean vehicles except using –

    • Automatic washing systems which recycle water; or
    • Commercial car wash facilities using trigger hoses; or
    • Watering cans or buckets filled directly from taps; or
    • Trigger hoses which can be used only to rinse vehicles after washing.

    Clean commercial motor vehicle dealer vehicles

    Water must not be used to clean vehicles except using –

    • Watering cans or buckets filled directly from taps; or
    • Trigger hoses which can be used only to rinse vehicles after washing.

    Clean food transport vehicles

    Water must not be used to clean vehicles except using

    • Trigger hoses; or
    • Watering cans or buckets filled directly from taps.

    Fill or top up a pond in private or public gardens

    Existing ponds can only be topped up to their normal level and only using handheld hoses or using watering cans or buckets filled directly from taps.

    Fill or top up a fountain

    Fountains must not operate unless they recycle water.

    Water lost from fountains must not be replaced except using hand-held hoses or using watering cans or buckets filled directly from a tap.

    Fill or top up a private swimming pool or spa

    Existing swimming pools and spas must not be topped up except using hand-held hoses or using watering cans or buckets filled directly from taps.

    Fill mobile water tankers

    Mobile water tankers must not be filled except

    • Between 8.00 am and 8.00 pm with written permission; or
    • Tankers supplying water for use inside domestic premises, or firefighting or stock watering purposes.

    Top up farm dams and tanks

    Farm dams and tanks must not be topped up except

    • Dams or tanks providing water for firefighting, public health or stock watering purposes but only to the extent necessary to reasonably provide for those purposes; or
    • In the case of other dams or tanks, with written permission.

    Use water in the construction industry

    Unless otherwise exempted by the Authority in writing, hoses must not be used except trigger hoses.

    Any other purpose not stated here, other than inside domestic use and for domestic and farm animals

    Water must not be used without written permission

  • Level 2

    Water residential gardens and commercial premises

    Garden beds and shrubs

    • Handheld hoses, watering cans or buckets can be used at any time.
    • Micro spray and drip systems fitted with timers
      • Odd-numbered houses – Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
      • Even-numbered houses – Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays
      • between 5.00 am to 9.00 am and 7.00 and 11.00 pm
    • Sprinklers
      • Odd-numbered houses – Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
      • Even-numbered houses – Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays
      • between 7.00 pm to 9.00 pm

    Lawns

    • Sprinklers
      • Odd-numbered houses – Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
      • Even-numbered houses – Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays
      •  between 7.00 pm to 9.00 pm

    Water public gardens and school grounds

    • Handheld hoses, watering cans or buckets can be used at any time on garden areas only.
    • Micro spray and drip systems fitted with timers
      • between 7.00 pm and 8.00 am
    • Sprinklers
      • only with written permission
    • Lawns
      • only with written permission

    Water sports grounds

    • Non-active playing surfaces only with written permission.
    • Active playing surfaces
      • Sprinklers, micro sprays or drip systems between 8.00 to 10.00 am and 8.00 pm to 10.00 pm, or
      • With handheld hoses immediately before or at the time of use; or
      • With watering cans or buckets filled directly from taps.

    Water a commercial market garden or plant nursery

    No restrictions.

    Clean paved areas

    Water must not be used to clean paved areas unless cleaning is required as a result of an accident, fire, health hazard or other emergencies.

    Clean windows

    Water must not be used to clean windows except using –

    • A trigger hose, with the written permission of the Authority; or
    • Buckets or watering filled directly from a tap.

    Clean personal or hire vehicles

    Water must not be used to clean vehicles except using

    • Automatic washing systems which recycle water; or
    • Commercial car wash facilities using trigger hoses; or
    • Watering cans or buckets filled directly from taps; or
    • Trigger hoses which can be used only to rinse vehicles after washing.

    Clean commercial motor vehicle dealer vehicles

    Water must not be used to clean vehicles except using

    • Watering cans or buckets filled directly from taps; or
    • Trigger hoses which can be used only to rinse vehicles after washing.

    Clean food transport vehicles

    Water must not be used to clean vehicles except using

    • Trigger hoses; or
    • Watering cans or buckets filled directly from taps.

    Fill or top up a pond in private or public gardens

    Newly constructed ponds must not be filled for the first time without the written permission of the Authority.

    Existing ponds can only be topped up to their normal level and only using hand-held hoses or using watering cans or buckets filled directly from taps.

    Fill or top up a fountain

    Fountains must not operate unless they recycle water.

    Water lost from fountains must not be replaced.

    Fill or top up a private swimming pool or spa

    • Newly constructed swimming pools and spas must not be filled for the first time without written permission.
    • Existing swimming pools and spas must not be topped up except using hand-held hoses or using watering cans or buckets filled directly from a tap.

    Fill mobile water tankers

    Mobile water tankers must not be filled except

    • Between 8.00 am and 8.00 pm with written permission; or
    • Tankers supplying water for use inside domestic premises, or firefighting or stock watering purposes.

    Top up farm dams and tanks

    Farm dams and tanks must not be topped up except

    • Dams or tanks providing water for firefighting, public health or stock watering purposes but only to the extent necessary to reasonably provide for those purposes; or
    • In the case of other dams or tanks, with written permission.

    Use water in the construction industry

    Unless otherwise exempted by the Authority in writing, hoses must not be used except trigger hoses.

    Any other purpose not stated here, other than inside domestic use and for domestic and farm animals

    Water must not be used without written permission

  • Level 3

    Water residential gardens and commercial premises

    Garden beds and shrubs

    • Watering cans or buckets filled directly from taps can be used at any time.
    • Micro spray and drip systems fitted with timers
      • Odd-numbered houses – Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
      • Even-numbered houses – Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays
      • between 8.00 pm and 12.00 am
    • Handheld hoses
      • Odd-numbered houses – Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
      • Even-numbered houses – Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays
      • between 6.00 am to 8.00 am and 7.00 pm to 9.00 pm
    • Sprinklers must not be used at any time.

    Lawns

    • Handheld hoses only
      • Odd-numbered houses – Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
      • Even-numbered houses – Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays
      • between 7.00 and 8.00 pm

    Water public gardens and school grounds

    • Handheld hoses, watering cans or buckets can be used at any time on garden areas only.
    • Micro spray and drip systems fitted with timers
      • between 8.00 pm to 12.00 am
    • Sprinklers only with written permission.
    • Lawns only with written permission.

    Water sports grounds

    • Non-active playing surfaces only with written permission.
    • Active playing surfaces
      • Handheld hoses on surfaces to be used for a scheduled regional or state professional competition; or
      • Watering cans or buckets filled directly from taps.

    Water a commercial market garden or plant nursery

    • Sprinklers between 11.00 pm to 7.00 am only.
    • Handheld hoses, watering cans or buckets can be used at any time.

    Clean paved areas

    Water must not be used to clean paved areas unless cleaning is required as a result of an accident, fire, health hazard or other emergencies.

    Clean windows

    Water must not be used to clean windows except using a bucket or watering filled directly from a tap.

    Clean personal or hire vehicles

    Water must not be used to clean vehicles except using

    • Automatic washing systems which recycle water; or
    • Commercial car wash facilities using trigger hoses; or
    • Watering cans or buckets filled directly from taps; or
    • Trigger hoses which can be used only to rinse vehicles after washing.

    Clean commercial motor vehicle dealer vehicles

    Water must not be used to clean vehicles except using

    • Watering cans or buckets filled directly from taps; or
    • Trigger hoses which can be used only to rinse vehicles after washing.

    Clean food transport vehicles

    Water must not be used to clean vehicles except using

    • Trigger hoses; or
    • Watering cans or buckets filled directly from taps.

    Fill or top up a pond in private or public gardens

    Newly constructed ponds must not be filled.

    Existing ponds can only be topped up to their normal level and only using watering cans or buckets filled directly from taps.

    Fill or top up a fountain

    Fountains must not operate without written permission.

    Fill or top up a private swimming pool or spa

    • Newly constructed swimming pools and spas must not be filled for the first time without written permission.
    • Existing swimming pools and spas must not be topped up except using hand-held hoses or using watering cans or buckets filled directly from a tap.

    Fill mobile water tankers

    Mobile water tankers must not be filled except

    • Between 8.00 am and 8.00 pm with written permission; or
    • Tankers supplying water for use inside domestic premises, or firefighting or stock watering purposes.

    Top up farm dams and tanks

    Farm dams and tanks must not be topped up except

    • Dams or tanks providing water for firefighting, public health or stock watering purposes but only to the extent necessary to reasonably provide for those purposes; or
    • In the case of other dams or tanks, with written permission.

    Use water in the construction industry

    Unless otherwise exempted by the Authority in writing, hoses must not be used except trigger hoses.

    Any other purpose not stated here, other than inside domestic use and for domestic and farm animals

    Water must not be used without written permission

  • Level 4

    Water residential gardens and commercial premises

    Garden beds and shrubs

    • Watering cans or buckets filled directly from taps
      • between 7.00 to 8.00 am and 7.00 to 8.00 pm
    • Sprinklers, micro spray and drip systems must not be used at any time.
    • Hoses must not be used at any time.

    Lawns must not be watered at any time.

    Water public gardens and school grounds

    • Sprinklers, micro spray and drip systems must not be used at any time.
    • Lawns must not be watered at any time.
    • Hoses must not be used at any time.

    Water sports grounds

    • Non-active playing surfaces must not be watered.
    • Active playing surfaces must not be watered unless they are to be used for a scheduled regional or state professional competition and have written permission to water with handheld hoses or watering cans or buckets filled directly from taps.

    Water a commercial market garden or plant nursery

    • Sprinklers with written permission only.
    • Handheld hoses, watering cans or buckets can be used at any time.

    Clean paved areas

    Water must not be used to clean paved areas unless cleaning is required as a result of an accident, fire, health hazard or other emergencies.

    Clean windows

    Water must not be used to clean windows.

    Clean personal or hire vehicles

    Water must not be used to clean vehicles unless cleaning is required for health or safety reasons. Cleaning for health and safety reasons must be undertaken using

    • Automatic washing systems which recycle water; or
    • Commercial car wash facilities using trigger hoses; or
    • Watering cans or buckets filled directly from taps; or
    • Trigger hoses which can be used only to rinse vehicles after washing.

    Clean commercial motor vehicle dealer vehicles

    Water must not be used to clean vehicles except using watering cans or buckets filled directly from taps.

    Clean food transport vehicles

    Water must not be used to clean vehicles except using

    • Trigger hoses; or
    • Watering cans or buckets filled directly from taps.

    Fill or top up a pond in private or public gardens

    Existing ponds sustaining fish or birdlife can only be topped up to their normal level and only using watering cans or buckets filled directly from a tap.

    Other ponds must not be topped up or filled.

    Fill or top up a fountain

    Fountains must not operate without written permission.

    Fill or top up a private swimming pool or spa

    • Newly constructed swimming pools and spas must not be filled.
    • Existing swimming pools and spas must not be topped up or filled.

    Fill mobile water tankers

    Mobile water tankers must not be filled except

    • Between 8.00 am and 8.00 pm with written permission; or
    • Tankers supplying water for use inside domestic premises, or firefighting or stock watering purposes.

    Top up farm dams and tanks

    Farm dams and tanks must not be topped up except

    • Dams or tanks providing water for firefighting, public health or stock watering purposes but only to the extent necessary to reasonably provide for those purposes; or
    • In the case of other dams or tanks, with written permission.

    Use water in the construction industry

    Unless otherwise exempted by the Authority in writing, hoses must not be used except trigger hoses.

    Any other purpose not stated here, other than inside domestic use and for domestic and farm animals

    Water must not be used without written permission

More information

  • Frequently asked questions

    How are water restriction levels determined?

    The level of Fairbairn Dam near Emerald is used as an indicator for water restrictions because it is connected to the Nogoa Mackenzie water scheme that Emerald, Blackwater, Bluff and Tieri rely on for their water supply.

    Rolleston gets its water from the Comet River. It’s water restrictions are determined by the capacity of the Ring Tank.

    Capella is supplied with water from three sources – a system of bores, surface water runoff, water that is harvested from Capella Creek during times of flood flows and from a drought relief pipeline that was constructed from Tieri.

    Its restrictions are determined by the capacity of the water storage facilities.

    What is the current level of the Fairbairn Dam?

    You can check the current level of the dam by visiting the Sunwater website.

    How does the council get its water?

    Every year on 1 July, the council is allocated an amount of water to use to supply the community from the Fairbairn Dam by SunWater.

    If I pay rates, don’t I have the right to use water?

    Owners of property connected to the water supply pay an annual charge and a consumption charge.

    The annual charge is the cost for the council to provide water to the property whether or not any water is actually used.

    The consumption charge is calculated from the amount of water actually used at the property.

    How important is the community water supply?

    Supplying water for people to use is what is referred to as ‘high priority’.

    Other high priority water users are an industry that is vital to the economy of the state and region—employs a lot of people and earns money for the state—such as coal mines.

    Am I an odd or even-numbered property?

    Whether you are an ‘even’ or ‘odd’ numbered property influences your watering days.

    Property addresses are categorised as ‘even’ if:

    • The number of property within the street is an even number. If you live in a unit, it is the number of your unit block that counts, not the number of your unit. E.g. 4 Simon Street or Unit 3/14 Simon Street.
    • There is no allocated street number and the property’s lot number is an even number. E.g Lot 4 Simon Road.
    • The property address includes more than one street number and the first number is even. E.g. 4 – 7 Simon Road.

    The same guidelines apply to categorise ‘odd-numbered’ properties (swap the word ‘even’ for the word ‘odd’).

    What is the council doing to save water?

    The council has reduced its use of water on parks, gardens and playing fields considerably.

    A water-use monitoring system has been implemented requiring monthly water-use reports to be submitted to the council for each facility being watered.

    What about the Emerald Botanic Gardens?

    The Emerald Botanic Gardens is a public park of regional significance.

    It is enjoyed by hundreds of people every day and is a wonderful oasis for residents and tourists.

    As such, the botanic gardens, which is watered with raw water from the Nogoa River, will have watering reduced in some parts, but will be maintained in the best condition possible given the circumstances.

    What is more important – a coal mine or a town?

    They are both equally important. Coal mines employ many people who live in nearby towns.

    Without the town water, there would be no people to work in the mines and without the mines, there would be many fewer people to live in the town.

    This is why the council and industries that share the water work closely together to make sure the water supply is secure.

    What are industries like mining and cotton farming doing to save water?

    Water supply to industries and crop farming is managed by Sunwater.

    Sunwater works closely with their customers, including council, industries and farmers, to carefully manage water allocation to support ongoing water security and business confidence.

    Remember, these companies and their employees are a part of our community too and recognise the need to conserve water.

    How many water restriction levels are there?

    There are five water restriction levels (0,1,2,3 and 4) in the Central Highlands.

    Do I need to have a sign on the front fence if I’m watering lawns with greywater or tanks?

    While not mandatory, it is a good idea to have a sign, so others are aware.

    Can I install a water tank? 

    Yes, please visit our rainwater tank information page and give our plumbing team a call on 1300 242 686.

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