WaterRight Gardens webtool
With extended dry spells and drought conditions becoming increasingly common, protecting our valuable water resources is a top priority for many ACT households.
WaterRight Gardens webtool is a handy piece of software which allows you to develop more accurate watering schedules for your garden, potentially saving money on your water bills in the process.
Based on the soil, vegetation and climate characteristics of Canberra's residential gardens — as well the information you provide about the specifics of your own garden — the WaterRight Gardens Webtool will generate recommendations on how much water your garden really needs, and the best time to apply this water.
You can also learn more about factors that influence garden water use by referring to the WaterRight Gardens Best Practice Guidelines and Fact Sheets. For more information, call Access Canberra on 13 22 81 or jump to the Getting Started section below.
Information contained in and provided by this WaterRight Gardens Webtool is intended as a guide only. Users of the Webtool take responsibility for investigating and understanding the current water restrictions and any other Territory requirements that may apply in the ACT when making selections on this Webtool and using information subsequently provided. The Australian Capital Territory Government will not be liable for any loss, damage, injury arising directly or indirectly from use of the Webtool and/or reliance by any party on information and/or data obtained from this Webtool. Users make use of the data available from the Webtool entirely at their own risk.
Waterwise gardening helps reduce the amount of water used to maintain a healthy garden, while maximising the use of rainfall.
If you rely totally on rainfall to maintain your garden or lawn — congratulations! — you may not need to use the WaterRight Gardens Webtool.
Please also note that this Webtool does not apply to:
established trees or plants taller than two metres
- new plantings that are being established
- potted plants
- vegetable gardens and annuals
- indoor plants
The following documents relating to the WaterRight Gardens Webtool are available for download.
Actsmart recommends always viewing documents on screen. Remember that paper production uses valuable natural resources and generates greenhouse gas emissions, while your used printer cartridges can create landfill. If you must print one or more of these documents, please remember to use recycled paper.
WaterRight Best Practice Guidelines PDF
WaterRight Field Guide PDF
Sources Of Water Fact Sheet PDF
Your feedback is important to us, and can help to improve the WaterRight Gardens Webtool. Please feel free to provide your comments or tell us about your experience, using the form below.
If you value the work that Actsmart is doing, and you may have time to participate in a focus group or online survey, we'd be delighted if you could provide your name, daytime telephone contact and email address by sending an email to WaterResources@act.gov.au
Below is a selection of other websites you can visit to learn more about waterwise gardening, water conservation, plant species with low water needs, and a range of other topics.
- Canberra's Vegetation & Soil Climate
- Smart Approved Watermark
- National Water Commission
- Canberra Discovery Garden
- Australia Native Plants Society Canberra region
- Birds in Backyards
- Grass Roots
- Sustainable Canberra Garden
If you're looking for the WaterRight Best Practice Guidelines, Field Guide or individual Fact Sheets, simply jump over to the Downloads section.
What time of the day should I water?
Watering should ideally occur early in the morning or late in the afternoon/evening, at times permitted by any water restrictions.
Before watering, use your finger to check the soil moisture to a depth of 5cm in each of your Green Areas. If your soil is moist enough, defer watering and check your soil again the following day.
What if it rains?
If it rains and your garden receives sufficient moisture, you can generally defer one watering event. Be sure to check that the rain has fully penetrated your soil (as per the method above) before you decide to defer watering. It's also wise to obtain a rain gauge to monitor and record your rainfall, then defer your watering accordingly.
What if I'm using less water than the proposed schedule?
If you're currently using less water than the proposed watering schedule (frequency and watering time combined), keep up the good work. There's no better way to assess your garden's watering requirements than to get out there and do some trials.
Adding topsoil, by introducing organic material, contributes to a healthy and waterwise garden. This allows water to penetrate into the plant root zone. Refer to the fact sheet on the Importance of Soil for further information.
In Canberra's climate, it is very difficult to maintain a perfect lawn, especially during dry periods and times of water restrictions. By allowing your lawn to grow a little longer before you mow it, and by regularly aerating and top dressing your soil, you'll maximise the health of your lawn and reduce water use. Consider using alternatives to lawn in some of your lawn areas, including native grasses, groundcovers or extra garden beds. See the fact sheet on Plant and Lawn Water Use for more information.
Clay soils are prone to drying out in hot conditions, and to water logging if drainage is poor. However, when wet they will hold water for a long time. Clay soils should not be allowed to dry out or become compacted. Organic mulching and composting, regular aeration, and regular, deep watering are very important. If your soil is waterlogged, improving drainage is a must.
Cyclic watering uses pulses of water to wet the soil, with time between the pulses for the water to penetrate the soil. This limits excessive pooling or run-off. Read the fact sheet on Irrigation Methods for more information.
Alternative Water Sources
For more information on alternative water sources for your garden, view our fact sheet.