LEVEL 2 water restrictions begin across Lake Macquarie next Monday as the region's water storage level drops to a 40-year low.
Under Level 2 restrictions - which apply across the Lower Hunter - watering outdoors is limited to just 15 minutes every second day.
Showers are limited to four minutes.
And vehicles and buildings can be washed using only buckets of water.
The total storage level in Hunter Water's four water reservoirs was this week at 53.6 per cent of capacity.
The last time water storage levels were that low was July, 1980.
Chichester Dam was this week at 37.9 per cent of capacity.
Grahamstown Dam (54.2 per cent of capacity), Tomago Sandbeds (56.5 per cent) and Anna Bay Reservoir (54.9 per cent) were in better shape.
Hunter Water's executive drought lead Darren Cleary said residents had responded well to Level 1 restrictions.
Water usage in the region had been reduced by 18 per cent since Level 1 restrictions were introduced last September.
He's hoping for a similar reaction to Level 2 restrictions.
"The community response has been fantastic," he told Australian Community Media.
"We've seen significant water savings being achieved, particularly given how hot and dry it has been.
"The community has responded, they are taking on board our message and we will continue to work with the community to save water."
The trigger point for Level 2 restrictions had been when total water storage levels in the region dropped to 50 per cent of capacity. But Mr Cleary said Level 2 restrictions would be brought in early to give locals time to adjust.
It's a different story in the neighbouring Central Coast local government area where no water restrictions yet apply.
Instead, Coast residents are asked to follow Water Wise Rules.
The trigger for Level 1 water restrictions on the Central Coast is when the water storage level in Mangrove Creek Dam - the region's largest reservoir - drops to 50 per cent of capacity.
Mangrove Creek Dam was this week at 51.4 per cent of capacity.
Central Coast mayor Lisa Matthews said the council was acutely aware of the need to manage water wisely and had established an expert water advisory committee to provide additional advice to the council.
"We have a solid plan in place to manage the Coast's water supply," Cr Matthews said.
"We are also in a stronger position than other areas which have already moved to water restrictions, due to our significant investment in water infrastructure since the millennium drought which continues today."
She said Coast residents should be applauded for their responsible water usage.
Central Coast Council is the water management authority for that LGA.