Published on Sep 16, 2019

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With local dam levels hovering at around 60%, and a bleak outlook for rain over the coming months, Hunter Water advises that Level 1 water restriction start today. So what does this mean for businesses?


There are now restrictions on the use of hoses as part of level 1 water restrictions what will it water restrictions will mean for businesses?


Level 1 restrictions will not have major impacts for many businesses as this stage (see table below). Major customers have to implement a Water Efficiency Management Plan (WEMP).  This plan highlights water savings within those businesses and also identifies where water is crucial to their operations.

If you’re a business who uses between 10 and 50 Megalitres (ML) of water a year, you are required to comply with the general Level 1 water restrictions that apply to residential use. If Level 2 water restrictions are necessary, you’ll be required to prepare a WEMP. Further instructions will be provided should Level 2 restrictions be introduced.

For other businesses it’s recommended that you put a plan in place to reduce your water consumption both at work and at home. Go here for details of level 1 water restrictions



Business Customers

Water Restriction

What Do I
Need to Do?

Major customers who use
more than 50 megalitres (ML) per year
For example: manufacturing and mining
You will be required
to implement a WEMP
Hunter Water will meet with you to help you develop a WEMP
Large customers who use
more than 10 ML per year
For example: aged care facilities,
shopping centres, food production
You will be required to implement
a WEMP if Level
2 water restrictions commence
Hunter Water will meet with you to help you develop a WEMP
Business customers who use
less than 10 ML per year
For example: nurseries, landscapers,
market gardeners, commercial growers, offices, cafes
You will be required to implement
a WEMP if Level
3 water restrictions commence
Identify how you can save water in your business

Exemptions for Business

While the majority of customers should be able to accommodate Level 1 water restrictions, Hunter Water recognises that some businesses rely on outdoor water use for their operations. Water use for critical business activities may be exempt from restrictions.

After the introduction of Level 1 water restrictions, a grace period for exemptions will apply. Business customers who are unable to comply with the Level 1 restrictions are required to apply for an exemption. Go here to apply for an exemption


What to expect if the dam levels continue to fall

Level 1 water restrictions – 60% storage levels

  • Watering with a trigger nozzle hose, is permitted any day before 10am or after 4pm to avoid the heat of the day
  • All hand held hoses must have a trigger nozzle;
  • No hosing of hard surfaces such as concrete, paths and driveways; and
  • All vehicles can only be washed if using a bucket, trigger nozzle hose or pressure cleaner
  • No sprinklers are to be used.

Level 2 water restrictions – 50% storage levels

  • Watering reduced to every second day
  • Vehicles and buildings bucket wash only
  • 4 minute maximum shower


Level 3 water restrictions – 40% storage levels

  • Total ban of outdoor water use


For more information regarding the water restrictions for both home and businesses go to the Hunter Water website.