Winter sprinkler switch off

The winter sprinkler switch off is a permanent water-efficiency measure starting 1 June and ending 31 August each year.
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Who does the switch off apply to?

The switch off applies to sprinkler use in the Perth/Mandurah area (Area 3) and south-west (Area 4) of Western Australia, including Albany, for:

  • scheme water users
  • domestic garden bores
  • licensed groundwater users including local governments, schools, golf courses, government departments, universities, TAFE campuses, major parks, and businesses that irrigate areas of non-commercial turf, lawn and gardens.

Active sporting locations, such as schools and local government ovals, are permitted to irrigate during winter because of their frequent use, safety considerations and amenity planting.

New lawns and gardens registration

If you are establishing a new lawn or garden, you must apply for a temporary exemption to water between 9am and 6pm, outside your rostered watering days, and during the winter switch off period. There is no automatic exemption under the Water Agencies (Water Use) By-laws 2010.

Apply online for a new lawn or garden exemption if you have a Water Corporation account.

If you do not have an account, please contact the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation on 1800 508 885.

If you have not registered and there is a proven breach of the water conditions you may be fined $100.

Note: Groundwater licence holders should follow the conditions as described on their licence and are not required to register newly planted lawns/gardens.

Winter sprinkler switch off areas

Perth and Mandurah

(Area 3)
  • City of Armadale
  • Town of Bassendean
  • City of Bayswater
  • City of Belmont
  • Town of Cambridge
  • City of Canning
  • Town of Claremont
  • City of Cockburn
  • Town of Cottesloe
  • Town of East Fremantle
  • City of Fremantle
  • City of Gosnells
  • City of Joondalup
  • City of Kalamunda
  • City of Kwinana
  • City of Mandurah
  • City of Melville
  • Town of Mosman Park
  • Shire of Mundaring
  • Shire of Murray
  • City of Nedlands
  • Shire of Peppermint Grove
  • City of Perth
  • City of Rockingham
  • Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale
  • City of South Perth
  • City of Stirling
  • City of Subiaco
  • City of Swan
  • Town of Victoria Park
  • City of Vincent
  • City of Wanneroo

South West

(Area 4)
  • City of Albany
  • Shire of Augusta–Margaret River
  • Shire of Boyup Brook
  • Shire of Bridgetown–Greenbushes
  • City of Bunbury
  • City of Busselton
  • Shire of Capel
  • Shire of Collie
  • Shire of Cranbrook
  • Shire of Dardanup
  • Shire of Denmark
  • Shire of Donnybrook–Balingup
  • Shire of Harvey
  • Shire of Manjimup
  • Shire of Nannup
  • Shire of Plantagenet
  • Shire of Waroona

Frequently asked questions: Winter sprinkler switch off

1. Why do we have a winter switch off?

Evaporation rates are low in winter and there is usually enough rainfall to sustain lawns and gardens. Water being used on lawns and gardens in winter is a waste of this valuable resource. The winter sprinkler switch off aims to prevent this wastage and save water for the hotter, drier months.

2. Can I maintain my bore during the winter sprinkler switch off?

Yes, you can. The maintenance of garden bores is important and under the legislation a person does not commit an offence if the person operates a reticulation system, using domestic bore water to the minimum extent necessary while the reticulation system is being installed, maintained, tested or repaired. 
We deem the ‘minimum extent necessary’ to be no more than two minutes per station. Running your reticulation longer than this may be deemed as watering your garden. 
We recommend you carry out work on your sprinkler roster days, either before 9am or after 6pm.

3. Can the switch off be changed or delayed? 

The Winter sprinkler switch off is a legislated requirement that has been in effect since 2010 and is an important part of long-term water supply planning.   

Water efficiency measures such as the switch-off are reviewed to ensure they are appropriate and effective in helping respond to the impacts of climate change.

While changes can be made to the legislation that imposes water restrictions, it would need to be carefully considered in the best interest of collective water security and impact on the environment.   

Hand watering is permitted during the Winter sprinkler switch off.   

4. What happens if I am away when the winter sprinkler switch off starts and I am unable to turn off my sprinkler system?

You must turn off your sprinkler system during the winter sprinkler switch off otherwise you may face a penalty. If you will be away when the winter switch off comes into effect, it is your responsibility to make sure that your sprinkler system has been turned off before your departure or arrange for someone to turn the system off for you.

5. I water my garden with a handheld hose. Is this permitted during the winter sprinkler switch off?

Yes. You are still permitted to hand-water your garden during the winter sprinkler switch off.

6. Do businesses and other organisations need to abide by the winter sprinkler switch off?

If businesses have a groundwater licence, they must act within the conditions of their licence.

7. Who do I contact if I observe sprinkler misuse during the winter sprinkler switch off?

If you observe sprinkler misuse at a property please contact your water service provider:

If you observe a local government authority misusing water, please contact that local government department directly. It is important to record as many details as possible including the address, time and date of water misuse, as well as what you saw.

8. Do penalties apply for not doing the right thing?

Yes. Penalties apply for a proven breach of sprinkler restrictions, including watering between 9am and 6pm, outside of rostered watering days and during the winter sprinkler switch off.

Anyone found to be in breach of sprinkler restrictions can be fined $100.

In Perth and Mandurah areas, report a sprinkler restriction breach on Water Corporation’s website or call 13 10 39.

In the south-west of the state, report a sprinkler restriction breach by contacting your water service provider in the first instance:

If you are outside a water service provider operating area (as listed above), please contact our water efficiency measures team on 1800 508 885 or via email at

9. Where can I find information on garden bores?

For further information, please visit Be Groundwater Wise.