Third party access

Water tank


On 1 July 2016, the Water Industry (Third Party Access Amendment) Act 2015 (the Act) commenced.

The Act establishes a water industry third party access regime (the Regime) and appoints the Commission as the regulator of that regime. The Regime provides a framework for the negotiation of access to certain water and sewerage infrastructure services, with the potential for arbitration should negotiations fail.

As the regulator of the Regime, the Commission has the function of monitoring and enforcing compliance with the requirements of the Regime.

The Commission’s role includes the following functions:

  • it is the body to which disputes are referred to and must, in the first instance, seek to resolve the dispute by conciliation. If a dispute is not resolved by conciliation, the Commission may refer the dispute to arbitration
  • it can require a regulated operator to give the Commission specified information or documents related to the regulated operator's water/sewerage service business
  • it must prepare and deliver to the Minister a report of the work carried out by the Commission relevant to the Regime, each financial year

The Act also imposes certain obligations on regulated operators.

The Government, through proclamation, is responsible for determining the extent to which the Regime applies to water/sewerage infrastructure, operators or services.

Under the Act, if a dispute is referred to arbitration, the Arbitrator must take into account any direction issued by the Minister for Water (Minister) under the Public Corporations Act 1993. On 24 June 2016, the Minister issued the following direction.

Potential third party access applicants are encouraged to contact SA Water in the first instance by phone on (08) 7224 1379 or by visiting the SA Water Third Party Access website portal.

The Commission has prepared the following material to assist stakeholders understand the Regime.

icon-waterAccess regime review

Under the Act, the Commission must review the effectiveness of the access regime in addressing the potential for information asymmetries and for SA Water to use market power for improper purposes in dealing with prospective third party access seekers.

The Commission made a recommendation to the Minister for Environment and Water, which was accepted, to continue the access regime from 1 July 2019 for a further five years. The Commission welcomes, at any time, views from access seekers and other interested parties regarding the access regime, which may feed into the next review which is due in 2024.