Swimming Pools and Water Restrictions in Melbourne

The easing of water restrictions in Melbourne from Stage 3 to Stage 2 has been cheered by pool owners. However, restrictions still apply to swimming pool owners, and must be carefully adhered to. In addition, given that a return to Stage 3 restrictions in future is possible, pool owners should familiarise themselves with the differences between the two levels of water restrictions.

Filling a new pool under Stage 2 water restrictions

New pool owners are allowed to fill their swimming pool with clean drinking water so long as the pool is 2,000 litres or less in volume. New pools that are larger than this, i.e. those that have a volume of greater then 2,000 litres must not be filled for the first time from the main water supply. The only exception to this is in cases where the pool owner has lodged a Water Conservation Plan with the local water body.

Unforeseen costs

While drinking water may not be used to fill new large pools for the first time, water from alternative sources can be used to do so. Alternative sources include groundwater sources, or trucked-in water from non-drinking water sources. Significantly, those building new pools should check to see whether the cost of filling their new pool has been included in their pool quote, as purchasing water to fill a new swimming pool can cost upwards of $1000. (If Salt Pools and Landscaping have quoted for the construction of your pool this cost will be included in your written quote)

Filling an existing pool under Stage 2 water restrictions

The guidelines for filling an existing swimming pool are similar to the above, with swimming pools of 2,000 litres or less able to be filled with drinking water. Larger pools, i.e. those of 2,000 litres or more must not be refilled unless an approved Water Conservation Plan has been developed and approved, or unless the water being used is not from drinking water sources.

Note that existing swimming pools may only be topped up if a handheld hose with a trigger nozzle attachment is used, or if a bucket or watering can is used. This is to avoid the additional water wastage that can be caused by common garden hoses.

Filling a new or existing pool under Stage 3 water restrictions

Note that if Melbourne returns to Stage 3 water restrictions in future, the restrictions applied to swimming pools will be much more stringent. Under stage 3 water restrictions, no resident may fill a new swimming pool of any size with drinking water, although water sourced via alternative means is allowed. Similarly, existing pools of 2,000 litres or less may be filled up, but only if a watering can or bucket is used to do so. Larger pools must not be filled unless a Water Conservation Plan has been lodged. Pools may only be topped up using a bucket or watering can.


Water restrictions in Melbourne are taken seriously, and penalties for breaching these restrictions include hefty fines, and may also include restrictions on future water use.


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