Water and sewerage acts, regulations and standards
Acts and Regulations
The Water Industry Act 2012 and its associated regulations provide a legislative framework to ensure that South Australian consumers have safe and reliable water and sewerage services and installations. The Act helps plan water supply and demand, and provides guidance for the water industry through:
- price regulation
- regulating customer service standards
- informing technical standards for water and sewerage infrastructure, installations, and plumbing
- performance monitoring of the water industry
- other measures relevant to using and managing water.
The Technical Regulator is appointed by the Minister under the Water Industry Act 2012 to:
- develop technical standards for the water industry
- monitor and regulate technical standards for water and sewerage installations
- provide safety and technical advice to water entities, ESCOSA, and the plumbing industry
- fulfil any other assigned function under the Act.
The Water Industry Regulations 2012 under the Water Industry Act 2012 further defines licensing, technical, and safety requirements, for water industry entities. The regulations also address the protection and use of water and sewerage infrastructure and equipment, and water conservation measures.
Section 21 of the regulations also outline key criteria for Safety, Reliability, Maintenance, and Technical Management Plans (SRMTMPs) for water industry entities.
A guidance document for preparing SRMTMPs is also available from the Office of the Technical Regulator.
Water and sewerage infrastructure technical standards
The Technical Regulator publishes technical standards for the design, installation, inspection, alteration, repair, maintenance, removal, disconnection, or decommissioning, of water and sewerage infrastructure as defined by the Water Industry Act 2012.
A published Infrastructure Standard that adopts the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) codes as the principle minimum standard for water and sewerage infrastructure is available from the Office of the Technical Regulator.
The WSAA codes complement standards, codes, and guidelines in current legislation. By formalising the WSAA codes as the Infrastructure Standard, the Technical Regulator recognises that the WSAA codes have gone through a peer-review process and are widely accepted for the requirements of water and sewerage infrastructure.
The Technical Regulator aims to see all water industry entity assets and operations comply with WSAA requirements. However, the intent for is not for legacy assets to be updated; but for WSAA codes, supplementary notices, and supporting documents, that are equivalent to or exceed WSAA requirements, be used for any future design, installation, inspection, alteration, repair, maintenance, removal, disconnection or decommissioning of water and sewerage infrastructure.
Standard for Dual Reticulation Infrastructure
The Technical Regulator has published the Standard for Dual Reticulation Infrastructure It prescribes the minimum requirements and responsibilities of all parties involved in dual reticulation infrastructure to ensure the safety and reliability of the water services provided to South Australian consumers. .
The Standard has been published after extensive consultation with stakeholders from the South Australian water industry.
The intent is not for legacy assets to be updated, but that going forward, the design, installation and construction of dual reticulation infrastructure including — up to the point of connection to a property — will be in accordance with the Standard.
This Standard is in addition to requirements set out in the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) codes.
When did the Standard come into effect?
As of 1 July 2021 full compliance with the standard is expected.
Is the Standard retrospective?
No, the Standard applies only to new dual reticulation infrastructure. However, replacement of existing infrastructure is expected to comply with the Standard.
Why did the Technical Regulator decide to publish the Standard?
Numerous cross-connections incidents have occurred in recent years resulting in consumers being supplied non-drinking water instead of drinking water. Following one incident, a report was prepared by a consultant recommending that the Technical Regulator develop a Standard to normalise practices within the industry for dual reticulation infrastructure.
Does the Standard apply to parks and reserves as well?
Yes, the Standard applies to any property, whether a building or an area of land, that is supplied by both drinking and non-drinking water.
Will this Standard be incorporated in the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) codes?
The Technical Regulator has no objection in the Standard being part of the WSAA codes, however, it is outside the Technical Regulator’s authority to rule the WSAA to adopt the Standard.
The Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) test described is in relation to work undertaken on services connected to the property. What about work carried out within the property by licensed plumbers?
The Standard applies to the Infrastructure side only, separate requirements are in place for all plumbing work.
Can you clarify the definitions of non-drinking water and recycled water?
We recognise that there are multiple definitions for non-drinking water.
- The Standard defines non-drinking water as derived primarily from sewage, greywater or stormwater systems and treated to a standard that is appropriate for its intended use.
- The Water Supply Code of Australia defines non-drinking water as “any water other than drinking water including wastewater, stormwater, bore water, groundwater, lake or river water, which has been treated to meet a Standard (as defined by the Regulator), and which is satisfactory for its intended use(s)”.
- The National Construction Code Volume Three (Plumbing Code of Australia) defines non-drinking water as “Water which is not intended primarily for human consumption”.
- SA Health defines recycled water as any water generated from the following and treated to a standard that is appropriate for its intended use:
- animal processes.
The intention of the Standard is to capture scenarios where there is the dual supply of drinking water and non-drinking water to prevent cross connections.
What is the scope of application for the Guidelines for Non-drinking Water in South Australia and the Standard for Dual Reticulation Infrastructure?
The scope of the Guidelines for Non-drinking Water in South Australia includes water infrastructure, plumbing, urban irrigation (e.g., parks, gardens, playgrounds, and BBQ areas) and non-building sites except where drinking water is not reticulated.
The scope of the Standard covers requirements for the safe design, installation and construction of dual reticulation infrastructure including up to the point of connection to a property. This Standard is in addition to requirements set out in the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) codes.
Is the Standard for Dual Reticulation Infrastructure published in April 2020 intended for connections to properties only?
The Standard applies to any property, whether a building or an area of land, that is supplied by both drinking and non-drinking water.
Is it necessary to use purple-coloured fittings and valves (i.e., ductile iron fittings and valves) for non-drinking water plumbing and infrastructure?
On-site Plumbing requirements are as per the Plumbing Code of Australia.
Infrastructure requirements are as per The Standard for Dual Reticulation Infrastructure which requires a permanent purple colour for the non-drinking water assembly and associated fittings. For other non-drinking infrastructure Table 4.1 of WSA 03-2011 3.1 applies which requires purple coating for a valve (spindle cap), but not for a fitting e.g., bend, coupling or for a valve (body).
What is acceptable for marking and identification of non-drinking water pipelines where solid permanent purple colour is not feasible?
On-site Plumbing requirements for the correct colour of non-drinking water pipes are as per the Plumbing Code of Australia (DTS AS/NZS 3500.1 Purple coloured pipework), where pipework is not coloured purple it must be identified by purple coloured sleeving, netted, or spirally wrapped tape, fittings are not required to be purple. The Non-drinking water guidelines require water meter inlets/outlets and meter assemblies to be purple, the PLV valve on non-drinking water service should also be purple where it is connected against concealed pipework in a wall of building. The Office of the Technical Regulator (OTR) has set out the specific water meter requirements as several cross connections have arisen due to confusion between non-drinking water and drinking water inlet/outlet and meter apparatus.
Infrastructure requirements are as per The Standard for Dual Reticulation Infrastructure which states non-drinking water infrastructure pipework shall be permanent purple colour no darker than Jacaranda P24 or Purple P12 and no lighter than P23 Lilac and labelled as non-drinking water. Sleeving can only be used for large diameter pipes where short runs make solid purple unviable.
Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) codes
Codes and extracts are available from the WSAA shop.
SA Water infrastructure standards and guidelines
The SA Water technical standards and guidelines can be viewed at the SA Water website.