Up to 50 residents caught flaunting Orange City Council's level 5 water restrictions risk being fined as much as $2000 after they were dobbed in by nosy neighbours.
Orange reached level 5 water restrictions in October, meaning garden watering has been cut to one hour a week on a Sunday evening.
Using sprinklers and soaker hoses, washing cars at home and filling swimming pools - even inflatable - is banned.
Orange council spokesman Nick Redmond said its rangers have been, and will continue to, monitor residential houses and businesses but council's biggest resource in policing the tight water restrictions appears to be the community.
"Council has received 48 calls from the community about restriction breaches," he said.
"Those residents receive a letter from council advising of the breach, what the restrictions are and some water saving tips.
If we have the rules we all have to complyFriends of the Botanic Garden president Susan Sanders
Mr Redmond said subsequent breaches would lead to a visit and rangers had been to two properties this month.
He said fines ranged from $220 to $2000 if people refused to comply, but no one had been fined yet.
Friends of Orange Botanic Gardens president Susan Sanders said she supported council fining people for watering outside of the allotted hour on Sunday.
"I suppose so, if we have the rules we all have to comply," she said.
However, she admitted it made it hard for shift workers who miss the hour, or for people with larger gardens who might not be able to water everything in that time.
Mrs Sanders said in theory she had no issues with residents blowing the whistle on their neighbours, especially in fragrant violations.
"If they're watering every day then yes, but if they're using tank water it makes it harder to tell," she said.
Orange and District Horticultural Society publicity officer Alison Smith agreed, supporting council handing out fines to wayward waterers and backing those who dobbed in neighbours.
"I can understand people dobbing others in, I think that's fine," she said.
Most of us are trying to do the right thing.Orange and District Horticultural Society publicity officer Alison Smith
"Most of us are trying to do the right thing."
She backed Mrs Sanders' comment about a need for shift workers to have a chance to water if they're away from home on Sunday nights.
She also said the range of $220 to $2000 fines for breaches "sounds okay".
Meanwhile, Dubbo Regional Council recently had to hose down rumours it would use drones to monitor backyard pool use and would stick with rangers on the ground.
Orange residents aren't permitted to top up existing swimming pools, or fill new ones.
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