What to do if your water is restricted

The restriction of your water supply can be extremely stressful and a major disruption in your daily life.

To restore the full flow of your water supply you should contact your retailer immediately to discuss the reason for restriction and what is required to restore your supply.

Our guide also explains the access requirements for reconnection and the time frame in which an agreed reconnection must be carried out.

What to do if your water is restricted

Contact your retailer immediately.

Even if you have spoken with them prior to the restriction, you must contact them again and discuss the next necessary steps to remove the restriction.

How to get a restriction removed

If your water has been restricted because you have not paid your bill, you will usually have to pay something towards your account or agree to a payment arrangement before the retailer will remove the restriction.

You may also have to pay any additional fees associated with restoring your water flow rate.

To avoid any additional stress, inconvenience and fees, you should speak to your retailer about payment arrangements or any financial difficulties before restriction occurs.

Before you contact your retailer, you should consider:

  • what amount you can afford to pay immediately, no matter how big or small
  • what amount you are able to pay at a later date, and the date you are able to pay it
  • a regular amount that you will be able to pay as part of a payment arrangement.
  • how often you can manage to pay that amount.

If you agree to a payment arrangement to have your water restriction removed, it is important that you can afford to maintain that payment arrangement. If you miss any payments, the arrangement will be broken and you may face water restriction again.

It is better to suggest an amount that is manageable to you at regular intervals (say fortnightly or monthly) than an amount that is outside your budget and you’re unlikely to be able to maintain.

If you were restricted for not providing access to your meter, you will not have the restriction removed until you can provide access to the meter. You should speak to your retailer and provide access within 10 business days of the date of restriction to assure your restriction is removed.

When will the water restriction be removed?

If your retailer has agreed to remove the restriction before 12pm on a business day, then the retailer must arrange removal of the restriction:

  • in Adelaide central/metropolitan area - on the day of request
  • in remote/rural areas - on the day of request if possible, or by the end of the next business day.

If the request is made after 12pm on a business day, the retailer must:

  • use its best endeavours to arrange for the removal of the restriction on the day of request
  • in any event, remove the restriction by the end of the next business day.
Access to your meter for removal of restriction

If your meter is not accessible, you will need to ensure that you remain at the property to provide access until the restriction is removed.

If you are not at the property to provide access when the retailer attends, you will need to contact your retailer again and re-apply for restriction removal.

An additional fee may apply.

Have you been wrongfully restricted?

You may believe that you have been wrongfully restricted by your water retailer.

If this is the case, you may be entitled to some form of payment from your water retailer if they restricted you when they:

  • were not entitled to do so under legislation or contract
  • failed to comply with the procedures required for disconnection
  • restricted the wrong premises
  • did not provide a restriction warning.

If you find yourself in this situation, you should contact your retailer to make a payment claim.

If you make a claim for compensation, you will be asked to provide evidence to support your claim.

Avoiding restriction of your water

Water services are different to electricity and gas because your supply will not be completely disconnected. However, it may be restricted to a prescribed minimum flow rate.

The best way to avoid the restriction of your water supply is to act promptly and speak with your retailer as soon as you find yourself in a position that may lead to restriction.

Avoiding the issue will not make it go away, it will only make the situation worse.

While you may find it difficult to discuss your personal circumstances with your retailer, remember that it will be much more stressful to do so after your water has been restricted.

Read our information on when your supply can and cannot be restricted.

Your water can be restricted:
  • If you fail to pay a bill.
  • When you have failed to provide safe access to your meter for three consecutive scheduled meter reads.
  • For health and safety reasons.
  • In an emergency or at the request of the police.
  • If you have provided false information in order to be connected.
  • If you have not provided acceptable identification when requested to do so by your retailer.
  • When illegal activities are suspected at your premises.
  • If you cause damage to the distributor’s equipment or interfere with a third party’s supply.

Your water retailer must give you fair notice before restricting your supply.

Your water cannot be restricted:
  • If the retailer is undertaking debt recovery action against you.
  • If you are participating in a hardship program.
  • If you have applied for assistance with relevant agencies and are awaiting a decision on the application.
  • For non-payment where the amount outstanding is less than the amount prescribed by the Essential Services Commission of South Australia.
  • If there is a total fire ban in place in the area you are located.
Reminder notice

A reminder notice is your cue to contact your water retailer as soon as possible.

You may still be able to negotiate a payment arrangement and avoid restriction.

Your retailer must use their best endeavours to contact you by phone, mail, email or other approved methods prior to restriction.

Restriction warning

If you do not contact your water retailer when you receive a reminder notice, you will receive a restriction warning notice next.

This notice will state that your supply may be restricted in five business days if the reasons for restriction are not rectified.

You should contact your water retailer as soon as possible to discuss your circumstances.

Is your mailing address also the property address?

If you have purchased a property, or vacant block, you must make sure that your bills are sent to an address where you will receive them.

Supply charges are applicable to any property, or block of land, where water mains are accessible to connect to, even if there is no current connection or consumption at that property.

If these bills are sent the street address of a vacant block, or rental property, they may not reach you as the account holder, and you may be unaware of a debt accruing.

You should contact your retailer if you are unsure if your water bills are being sent to the correct mailing address.