Water waster
Water waster

Hundreds dob in neighbours over water restrictions

THOUSANDS of Sydneysiders have dobbed in their neighbours for breaching water restrictions but only six people have been fined since they were introduced.

Sydney Water has received more than 4000 complaints since level 2 water restrictions were put in place last month.

Suburbs in Sydney's west have the highest amounts of people accusing their neighbours of breaching water restrictions.

"Sydney Water currently receives 250-300 reports per day alerting us to customers using water in breach of the water restrictions," a Sydney Water spokeswoman said.

Glenmore Park tops the list with 96 reports of misuse so far, followed by Penrith with 51 and Schofields with 49.

 

Level 2 water restrictions have been in place since December 10 last year.
Level 2 water restrictions have been in place since December 10 last year.

 

After a complaint is made, Sydney water dispatches an officer who talks to the resident about the drought, explains the restrictions and gives them a verbal caution.

Only six people have been fined for breaching water restrictions since they began in September but more than 220 have been given official warnings for water misuse.

Cranebrook and St Clair was the next top suburb for alleged water misuse with 45 complaints followed by Quakers Hill, Riverstone, Gregory Hills, Cronulla and The Ponds.

McCrindle social researcher Geoff Brailey said people in these suburbs were more aware of the drought because it was hotter and drier.

"The west is hot, it is dry and it is exposed. It gets almost half the rainfall compared to the east, it has seven times the number of days above 35C," he said.

He also said these suburbs often had homes on smaller blocks which made it easier to see someone breaching restrictions.

 

A Sydney gardener using a hose with no trigger nozzle when level 1 water restrictions were in place. Picture: John Grainger.
A Sydney gardener using a hose with no trigger nozzle when level 1 water restrictions were in place. Picture: John Grainger.

 

"These new dwellings are on smaller blocks so there is less privacy and that might mean there is more visibility of someone doing the wrong thing," he said.

The Good Manners Company etiquette expert Anna Musson urged people to talk to neighbours about the issue over a beer before tattling on them.

"Be reasonable first, and followed by that use the passive aggressive approach where you subtly drop a hint that people are dobbing in their neighbours," she said.

"If that doesn't work, by all means, hit the hotline."

Under the restrictions, plants can only be watered with a watering can and cars must be washed with soap and a bucket instead of a garden hose. Hosing down hard surfaces is also banned.

Recycled water and bore water are still able to be used to water gardens. New turf may be watered for four weeks after it is purchased.

Incapacitated and elderly people can apply for exemptions for medical reasons.

There are also exemptions available for cultural, legal and "other important reasons", according to Sydney Water.

 

The lookout over the Warragamba catchment. Picture: Jeff Darmanin
The lookout over the Warragamba catchment. Picture: Jeff Darmanin

 

Number of dobbers by suburb since December 10, 2019:

Glenmore Park: 96

Penrith: 51

Schofields: 49

Cranebrook: 45

St Clair: 45

Quakers Hill: 43

Riverstone: 42

Gregory Hills: 41

Cronulla: 37

The Ponds: 37