Guidelines for water use on active playing surfaces

What is an Active Playing Surface?

An active playing surface is defined as:

  • a turf cricket wicket and practice wickets
  • a grass running or race track
  • a bicycle race course
  • a green (that is, croquet, bowling or golf)
  • a golf tee-off area
  • a tennis court
  • a synthetic hockey pitch or synthetic bowling green
  • any other principal part of a sports-ground used during a sport game or competition, but does not include the surrounding grassed surface of a sporting oval or a golf fairway, or
  • designated soft fall and grassed play areas in registered child care centre.

 Who needs to abide by the Active Playing Surface Guidelines?

 If you operate an active playing surface as described above, you need to abide by the guidelines.

Are kindergartens covered by the Active Playing Surface Guidelines?

Yes. Soft fall or grassed play areas in kindergartens must abide by the Guidelines for registered child care centres.

What playing surfaces are not covered by the guidelines?

Playing surfaces that are not covered by the guidelines include:

  • Fields where social sport is played, eg croquet greens in retirement villages
  • Fields that are used for less than 5 hours per week for competition. 

What is defined as 'competition'?

Competition has to be official such as fixtures. It doesn't include warm-up, training and any social competition. Some indicators of competition include:

  • Teams are registered as part of official competition
  • Games are organised or are recognised by a sporting organisation
  • Games have an official scorekeeper
  • Games have a referee/umpire/other match officials
  • Match results are recorded/published
  • Players have insurance.

What part of my sporting field is the active playing surface?

The active playing surface is the area used for competition. As a rule of thumb, it is the area 'inside the lines' where the players are engaging in competition. It doesn't include run-on areas, behind the dead ball line or just inside the perimeter fence.

My irrigation system is designed to water the whole field, not just the active playing surface. Will my water allocation be increased to make allowance for this?

No. The water allocation is only for the active playing surface. You will need to adjust your irrigation system so that it only waters the active playing surface or manage within your allocation.

What is a water meter (also known as sub meter or flow meter)?

A water meter is a device which is used to specifically measure and monitor the amount of water used for the irrigation of playing surfaces. It can also assist in determining any leakage in equipment and infrastructure associated with the playing area.

How do we get a water meter installed?

The installation of a water meter is considered 'regulated work', which requires local government approval. This means it can only be installed by a licensed person. Please contact council for further information.

I already have a Water Efficiency Management Plan (WEMP). Do I need to adhere to these guidelines?

All active playing surfaces must be watered in accordance with the Active Playing Surface Guidelines. However, relevant aspects of the WEMP may still apply, particularly for premises with an annual consumption of 10 ML/year or greater. Contact council for further clarification if you have an existing WEMP.

How do I register as an active playing surface?

If you want to use town water on your active playing surfaces, your club or organisation must complete a registration form.

Does our nominated surface manager require any training?

The manager should be, or become, aware of the best management practices. It is recommended to attend an irrigation trainer's course to become familiar with the irrigation scheduling and turf requirements. It is recommended they gather information to include basic maintenance of an irrigation system to assist with daily monitoring of usage.

How do I know how much water my local club can use on our active playing surfaces?

You or council must first undertake a site assessment and calculate a water allocation relevant for your playing surface.

What is a site assessment?

A site assessment is an assessment of the current condition of the active playing surface and must consider the following: 

  • Soil and turf type
  • Climatic zone
  • Current water meter reading
  • Playing surface dimensions.

A site assessment may be undertaken by council or by the playing surface manager (self assessment). The assessment aims to provide a volumetric water allocation. The allocation will prescribe the total amount of water from the town water supply system to be used on the playing surface.

What is a self assessment?

The playing surface manager may undertake the site assessment and calculate allocation using the Town Water Allocation Calculator. Once completed, the playing surface manager must forward the results of the assessment, including the allocation, to council for confirmation. Council may carry out spot audits of self-assessed playing surfaces to ensure accuracy of assessments and allocations.

How do I determine the dimensions and area of my active playing surface?

Information is provided in the "Guide to Registration Form for Organisations and Clubs" document, available in the Related Documents section.

How do I determine the soil type of my active playing surfaces?

Information is provided in the "Guide to the Registration Form for Organisations and Clubs" document.

Is the allocation relevant only to the playing surface area?

Yes. The allocation doesn't apply to other water uses such as the canteen and toilet blocks and non playing surfaces such as the run on areas of the field.

What if we have not received our allocation results yet, can we still use town water?

The Town Water Allocation Calculator provides an allocation of water from the date the site assessment was undertaken. You are permitted to start using town water on your playing surfaces from the date the site assessment was undertaken provided you start using the irrigation log book and only irrigate during the prescribed times.

Where can I get an irrigation log book?

The log books for each surface category can be downloaded.

What happens if I don't adhere to the Guidelines?

Council will be responsible for implementing penalties for non-compliance.

Where can I find out what times I can water?

Watering times have been summarised in a fact sheet, please contact us for this information or any required forms.

Related documents

Water efficiency - Active playing surface

Water efficiency - Active playing surface (for print)


Last Updated: Monday, 04 February 2019 16:02
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