06 Jan Water restrictions in Sydney – distilling the most important information for all our SCV family.
With the devastation surrounding the events of the recent bushfires and the social disharmony that has been occurring, most of us want to ‘do the right thing’ in our community even more properly now.
Perhaps most importantly, water conservation is on many of our minds right now during this time of drought that is leading to even greater fire risk – something our country can’t handle more of right now.
We all are probably trying to do our best to conserve water by following the rules given by Sydney Water as well as our own ideas to reduce water consumption in our homes.
But what do ‘Level 2’ water restrictions from Sydney Water mean? What can we be doing? What should we not be doing right now? Do the rules differ for us as a community of pet owners?
Looking after our pets
Our pets depend on us, and without us caring for them, they’d perish. Of course, providing fresh water daily for our companions is allowed and no one disputes that, but there’s still a massive grey area about other aspects when it comes to caring for our pets.
Many people currently think that we are not allowed to wash our pets, however, there is no need for our pets to go unwashed; it is totally fine, under the current water restrictions, to wash your dog, and YES EVEN WITH A HOSE, as long as a trigger nozzle is fitted so that we don’t waste water that isn’t being directly used to wash the suds of our pets.
We don’t recommend using ‘greywater’ such as waste washing water to wash your pet, but fresh, clean water directly from your rainwater tank or Council water supply should be used; however, we do recommend collecting the waste water from washing your pet as this can be used for other purposes like flushing your toilet or watering your garden. The debris, protein, dead skin cells, oils and other ‘yucky’ things that we want to remove by washing our pets are actually great for our garden generally (as is the detergent used in most pet wash soaps).
The easiest way to recycle the water from your pet’s next wash is either by using a device such as ‘BoosterBath’ or other elevated platform that has a hose which can divert the waste water into a bucket. If you don’t have an elevated platform like this, try washing your pet in the bath and syphoning the waste water using an aquarium syphon. These are super cost-effective and can be used for years if properly maintained.
If you have a pet under 10kg, the simplest way to conserve the waste water is to wash them in your garden bed. Just make sure you place a towel or cloth over the soil so that their paws stay fresh and clean!
We must note that professional dog washing services including mobile dog wash services are also able to be used during this time of water restrictions, so keep going to your favourite dog spa!
Cooling down pets
If your pet seems to be suffering from symptoms of heat stroke or overheating; we strongly recommend you to use a constant flow of water over 15 minutes to bring down their core body temperature to a safe level. This is totally allowed by Sydney Water at this time as well.
Your garden and the critters who reside in it
The current strictness of Sydney Water’s level 2 water restrictions means that:
- You are not allowed to water your garden with a hose (even if a trigger nozzle is attached). Only a watering can is acceptable.
- You are also only permitted to water your garden and plants between 4pm and 10am.
The reason for this is debatable but current thinking is that using a watering can is inconvenient to citizens and will avoid wastage as some people will use more water than necessary when they are using a hose. The time restrictions of watering use is more understandable as the times between 10am and 4pm, tend to be warmer and some of the water immediately evaporates into the sky if you water during these hours. Watering when it is cooler and less windy reduces evaporation and conserves water.
Our recommendation as advocates for animals and wildlife is to encourage you to water your gardens and push through the inconvenience of watering using a can. Many living things like frogs, toads, geckos, skinks and lizards don’t drink much water and the way they avoid dehydration and suffering is through absorbing water at special ‘drinking patches’ located on their thighs and bellies. We strongly feel that neglecting your garden at this time, will also neglect the lives of our important reptile species and could have an adverse impact on biodiversity.
What about the elderly, infirm, disabled or those with carers not available throughout the day?
Even the infirm, disabled and elderly; in fact, no residential citizens are automatically exempt from these strict water restrictions unfortunately. We encourage you to send a brief email or call your local NSW representative to bring this matter up during Parliament sessions; until then you can apply to Sydney Water for a special exemption here: https://www.sydneywater.com.au/SW/water-the-environment/what-we-re-doing/water-restrictions/special-exemptions-for-residential-customers/index.htm
We hope these tips will lead you to arrive at the other side of the current drought in a positive state.
So don’t feel bad – your garden will be more resilient, our native species will avoid dehydration and your pets will be sparkly clean.